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Netball World Cup LOC begins work

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Work on the 2017 International Netball Federation (INF) World Youth Cup to be hosted in Botswana officially began yesterday when the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng officially launched the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the event.

The 13-strong team is headed by veteran netball administrator Prisca Mokgadi and they are tasked with managing a large scale operation that will see Botswana hosting 20 of the world’s best netballing nations. Speaking at the launch in Gaborone on Tuesday morning, Olopeng said hosting the games of this magnitude required high calibre leadership, meticulous programme planning and implementation in all aspects of event management.

“The important responsibilities associated with event management brings us to the reason why we are gathered here today to launch the LOC,” Olopeng said.  Flanked by the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) chairman Solly Reikeletseng and the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) patron Botlogile Tshireletso, Olopeng expressed confidence that they had picked some of the best men and women to establish the LOC and ensure successful delivery of the games.

“The illustrious track records and collective experiences are a source of comfort not only to my ministry but the country as a whole.” Olopeng pledged to support the LOC that has since received P15 million from government towards the international games. “When my ministry acceded to the request by BONA to bid   for hosting of the games my ministry committed a budget of P15 million over three years for both the  team preparation and hosting of the tournament. This is a modest contribution by Government and does not cover the total cost of the Games,” he said.

Olopeng appealed to the corporate world to step up and support the games financially. Meanwhile other members of the LOC under Mokgadi are Tebogo Kesupile (Vice chairperson), Girish Ramakrishna (Head of Finance), Tsoseletso Magang (Commercial and Sponsorship), Stephaney Stoneham (Marketing and Branding), Dr Odiseng Lesedinyana (Medical and Doping), Tebogo LebotseSebego (Communications and Protocol), Mpho Gaobakwe (Head of Legal) and Tiny Moremi (Project Management).

Speaking during the same occasion, LOC chairperson Prisca Mokgadi said her committee required a full time secretariat for the games, adding that they could not organise the games on their own as most of her committee members had full time jobs. “The second challenge is lack of resources. The government   has boosted us with P10.9 million but this is less than we need,” she said.

She added that there was need for infrastructure, as the international netball governing body required two indoor facilities to host the world cup. Mokgadi explained that thus far only the indoor facility at the University of Botswana was up to scratch. “We also want training venues as we will have to host test games before the 2017 event.” She added that the infrastructure left behind would also serve as a legacy after the games are concluded.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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