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Sua Flamingos flunk premiership opportunity

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Sua Flamingos Football club who finished third in the Debswana Northern First Division league behind Ecco City Greens have themselves to blame for failing to sail through to the beMobile Premiership for next season.

A former first team player (names withheld) could not hide his disappointment at the team’s current position. The player said that when the first round resumed under the tutelage of Zimbabwean gaffer Elias Chinyemba, the team made a vow to gain automatic promotion to the top league of the country.

“As players we had a bond which was fuelled by the need to win all our games, but just before the end of the first round, the team management informed us that they wanted to beef up the team with premier league material,” the player said. He revealed that when they went to collect their cheques for December 2015 during the holiday break, they were surprised to find letters releasing nine of them from the team only to learn later that the coach was also given the boot.

“The decision to dismantle a team with a winning combination together with its head coach at the end of the first round was unwise on the part of management,” the player explained. When reached for a comment, the Chairperson of the club Bashi Albion Joseph explained that when the team gained promotion from the Division One to the Debswana First Division North, they set themselves a goal of grabbing 24 points in each round.

“We never said that we wanted to enter the premiership league straight away as we were aware of the fact that we are newcomers in the league. People normally look at the log and get excited and think that the team will make it only for them to be disappointed. We understand that we have fans all over and they have to know that the players that we released were not performing and as a team building for the future, we needed to beef up our squad to compete with the best.

As for our aim of collecting 24 points in the first round we made it but failed in the second round as we collected 16 points and lost nine. One of our players we released due to school commitment is Lapologang Motlogi who is a frequent goal scorer at Motlakase Power Dynamos,” he said.

Joseph added that their former coach Chinyemba was not fired but that, “We experienced problems with his papers as his work permit was for a second division team called Mega.Com.

“We asked the team to lend us the coach since at that time we were in desperate need of one. The team owner agreed as he said that he was owing Chinyemba some money and the new arrangement would relieve him of pressure. When the owner realised that we were doing well he then started to blackmail us  saying we should give him cash until the coach was arrested by the police and some immigration officials who informed us that it was wrong for us to have used a coach we did not have any work permit for.

However, we were warned. So we never fired the coach as there are lots of allegations making rounds to blame us of failure to gain promotion to the top league of the country,” he clarified.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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