Prolific Orapa United striker Ronald Chikomo thinks his team can scoop the coveted Mascom Top 8 trophy in their first campaign of the popular tournament affectionately known as ‘Tse Di Tona’.
Chikomo is an authority when it comes to winning the Top 8. He has won the Top 8 twice before with his beloved Gaborone United (GU). Chikomo was speaking during an interview over the weekend after his team Orapa United played to a one-all draw with BDF XI in a Top 8 semis final staged at the Itekeng stadium in Orapa.
“By all means it is not easy to reach the Top 8 semi-finals. This is a rare chance that comes once in a while,” said the striker, who helped Gaborone United win the Top 8 cup during the 2012/13 and the 2014/15 seasons. Chikomo said they will be ready for BDF during the second leg of the games scheduled for the Francistown sports complex next month.
“I think we started the game in a slow pace because it was very hot we are used to playing most of our games at night,” Chikomo said after drawing with Matebele. The robust and free scoring GU legend said he was happy with his move to the Ostriches of Orapa thus far.
“I am happier at Orapa as I am enjoying more game time. It has been three months since I arrived and the team has given me everything I need,” said Chikomo who scored Orapa United’s only goal on Sunday.
Meanwhile, BDF will have their hands full with not just Chikomo but the Ostriches’ newest signing, Onkabetse Makganthai. The former Nico United star is currently in scintillating form having changed the complexion of the game when he came in as a substitute for Chikomo in the second half.
“This is only my fourth game with Orapa. I have been great playing for the team so far. Remember that we are on a winning streak having gone 20 games without a loss.”
Makgantai said the fans in Orapa have received him with open arms adding that the team will deliver the cup after they proceed to the Top 8 final. “The coach said I should deliver in every game and he was happy with the result against BDF.” For his part Ostriches’ headcoach Madinda Ndlovu said he was confident that his team will win in the second leg of the semi finals.
“We played to a one all draw and this is a game that has its pros and cons, my team is more than capable of scoring. I need two goals to win and proceed to the final.” “This is the Mascom Top 8 and it is all about who wants it the most. How my boys to the goal against them and how they responded showed character.
They came back from behind and fought hard for the draw.” A content Ndlovu also took time to sing praises for Makgantai, his latest acquisition adding that he was a good player who will be important in helping to win games in the future.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.
Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.
“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.
Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.
“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.
Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.
“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.
Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe. No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.
Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.
However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”
Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.
However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.