There was a jubilant move this week in Lobatse and other areas of the country as Extension Gunners’ supporters celebrated the news of Chairman Kitso Dlamini’s resignation. Dlamini reportedly resigned over the weekend after a band of supporters threatened violence against him while others allegedly insulted his wife. For fear of his life and that of his family, he is said to have taken the decision to step down.
For over a month now, supporters of the well-followed club demanded the resignation of the entire Gunners’ management committee with the team having become the laughing stock of their rivals because of a string of poor results. Supporters blamed their woes on the management rather than the technical teams and players, saying poor running of the club was the source of their problems.
Incidentally, the club started the season on a high note, recording 12 points from their first four games under the tutelage of Keitumetse Paul and thereby leading the league log standings for the first time after many years. Paul has since moved to Mochudi Centre Chiefs as Assistant Coach after a fall out with the Gunners’ management. Information reaching this publication already indicates that the club’s former Public Relations Officer Cassim Dada is being favored to take over the leadership of the club.
The last straw for the Gunners’ faithful was their Friday 1-3 loss to Orapa United in a Mascom Top 8 quarter final match that saw the club tumble out of the cup on 4-2 aggregate after the first leg 1-1 draw in Orapa three weeks ago. The committee has also been blamed for failure to bring on board business partners to relieve or cushion supporters from contributing for every club activity, including daily expenses of the club.
In voting for the Dlamini-led committee, Gunners’ supporters entrusted their leadership with the responsibilities among others, identifying a business model which can move the club forward and also secure an investor to take care of the welfare of the players.
Now it is their take that the management has failed, and now want people with fresh ideas who should be able to support their technical teams rather than fire them.
One of the club’s long serving players Monageng Thaele admitted in a recent interview that the current standoff between management and supporters was affecting their welfares as players. The player added that the team paid their salaries even though the payments are not consistent.
The club’s Public Relations Officer Keorapetse Kgasa confirmed that the chairman has tendered his resignation. The deputy Chairman Oduetse Langwane has been elevated to the chairmanship.
According to Kgasa, the committee is empowered by the club’s constitution to co-opt members to fill the vacant post. Gunners will have an elective annual general assembly next year around June or July. Kgasa said negotiations with investors are at an advanced stage although he did not divulge much information. He pleaded: “I would like to ask our supporters to be patient, this team is self-sponsored. We do not have regular sources of income; we have not played at home for some time, which affects our income in a way.”
As of Tuesday evening, the Botswana Premier League had not received official information on Dlamini’s resignation. “We are aware of the news of his resignation, but my office is yet to receive official communication,” BPL CEO Bennett Mamelodi told Sun Sport. As club chairman, Dlamini also served in the premier league board.
Local boxers ready for regional tourney
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.
Branch does it again
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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