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New chapter for Botswana volleyball

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The recent conclusion of a five-day international beach volleyball coaches course in Gaborone heralded a new chapter for the country’s sport as the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) aims to have staged a beach volleyball competition by close of year.

The Volleyball Your Way (VBYW) course that was conducted by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) was only a part of a grand plan to see beach volleyball grace the expanse of the country. Traditionally played along ocean beaches in several coastal cities and towns around the world, beach volleyball has over the past few years been introduced even in land-locked countries where the sand used on the court is often imported from countries with beach fronts.

Botswana is the latest in Africa to consider bringing in the sport after other nations such as Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa and Namibia have been active in the sport for years. Without the benefit of the course last year, Botswana tested the waters by sending two teams of four players to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers in Mozambique, but were eliminated early by their more experienced opponents. It is against this background that the BVF applied for the coaches course in order to get it right from the grassroots.

The 22 coaches from BVF affiliates as well as primary, secondary and tertiary schools who successfully completed the course were challenged to ensure that Botswana hits the ground running in the sport to surpass the achievements of the indoor teams that have shown growth over the years. Botswana National Sports Commission’s (BNSC) Technical Sports Development Director Bobby Gaseitsewe told the graduating coaches: “Botswana volleyball has shown growth at regional and continental level as evidenced by the recent senior national women’s team that for the first time beat Tunisia in the Olympic qualifiers to finish at number five on the continent. I challenge you to use your knowledge to develop players who will surpass the achievements at indoor volleyball.”

Gaseitsewe, who was speaking at the coaches’ course closing ceremony, also challenged the volleyball body to ensure qualification of Botswana to the next Africa Games’ beach volleyball, where they should clinch a medal. He implored the coaches to exercise caution with the advent of beach volleyball as there exists a likelihood of divided attention that could lead to lowered standards. “All of you are fully involved in indoor volleyball and as such I would encourage you to find a balance between the two and not compromise the other one,” he said.

The same concern was raised by BVF President Daniel Molaodi who feared the possibility of talent exodus to beach volleyball which he said was relatively cheaper to run. On the flip side however, he said the sport offered a more realistic chance for Botswana to qualify for the Olympics. Already, the BVF has engaged a number of corporate entities with a view to get sponsorship for tournaments.

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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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