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Amateur footballers travel to Thailand

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A team of 25 amateur football players is expected to travel to Thailand, where they will take part in the 5-a- side world cup dubbed F5WC on 15th March.

The team, sponsored by Letshego financial institution, is the Stanbic Bank Super 5 league reigning champion following a successful five-a-side campaign. The squad comprises staff from Letshego who emerged victorious in the local league, thus qualifying them to represent Botswana at the international tournament where they will be pitted against 32 other countries.

According to a press statement this week Letshego will sponsor the team, covering accommodation and travel, as Batswana rally behind the victorious squad intent on bringing the cup home. Fifteen players are expected to travel as part of the team, along with six supporters to lend support.

“We are incredibly proud of our boys for this phenomenal achievement, and are thrilled to see Botswana once again being represented on a global playing field, this time in soccer. In many ways, the world of football is similar to that of business, it takes skill dedication, flawless execution and passion,” Chief Executive Officer of Letshego Fredrick Mmelesi was quoted saying this week.  

The F5WC 5-a-side amateur football tournament   attracts over 30 countries, each of whom are required to host a national qualifying tournament to find their best amateur football team to make it to the final.

This year’s qualifiers took place from July 2015 to December 2015.

The local tournament was held at Stanbic Bank super 5s football centre at Molapo in Gaborone.

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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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.”

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BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet

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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.

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