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Magosi turn to old guard

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The influential triumvirate of coach Innocent Morapedi, goalkeeper Noah Maposa and striker Jarome Ramatlhakwane have reportedly gone full circle and reunited with their former club Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

Morapedi, who is formerly the Chiefs assistant coach helped to steer Magosi to some of their most historic premier league triumphs. He was part of the prolific technical team headed by former Magosi headcoach Madinda Ndlovu, a partnership that made Chiefs one of the most feared teams in the domestic league. Back then the mighty Magosi won back-to-back beMOBILE premiership championships.

Following Ndlovu’s departure to Township Rollers, Chiefs hired a new technical team led by little known Dragojlo Stanojlovic from Serbia. This move did not favour the tactical Morapedi who had to make way for China Matlhaku to work as Dragojlo second in command. Morapedi later had a stint at the now relegated Notwane before going under the football radar.

However, it did not come as a surprise to many football supporters when Morapedi resurfaced in Kgatleng. Meanwhile, Ramatlhakwane, the former Under 23 and National team top goal poacher who at some point led the top goal scorer standings during the AFCON 2012 qualifiers, has also been linked to his former team. Ramatlhakwane stamped his authority in regional football when he again clinched the top goal scorer at the regional tournament COSAFA Castle Cup held in Zambia in 2013.

However Ramatlhakwane still has a five-year running contract with Democratic Republic of Congo outfit, Don Bosco. The once feared striker joins Chiefs from championship rivals Township Rollers on loan. Initially, Ramatlhakwane chose Rollers over his former club after it was believed that Rollers dangled an irresistible financial carrot before his nose. Nevertheless, his latest move is believed will breathe life into Chiefs striking force which heavily relied on Onalethata Tshekiso and Lemponye Tshireletso, who have since moved on.

Meanwhile the nomadic safe hands Noah Maposa who has enjoyed playing for almost all the popular clubs in the league including Township Rollers and Gaborone United is expected to take over from goal minder Raphael Nthwane who has joined the likes of Pontsho Moloi and Onalethata Tshekiso at the retirement village.

Maposa, an experienced shot stopper has seen limited game time in Popa colours, as he had to face stiff competition from the Zebras’ first choice goal minder Kabelo Dambe.Worst still, Maposa could have faced even fiercer competition from Mwampule Masule who was on loan at BDF XI. Masule showed improvement at BDF, triggering his dramatic comeback to the national team colours. Masule lately was instrumental in Zebras’ historic feat in the regional COSAFA tournament where they reached the finals for the first time after coming in for injured Dambe.

In an interview this week, Chiefs spokesperson Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed to Sun Sports that indeed they will be signing the duo Maposa and Ramatlhakwane but didn’t disclose the length of their contracts, adding that Morapedi will be an interim headcoach while they search for a suitable candidate. Chiefs were left without a coach after the departure of Michael Sithole who has since joined Jwaneng Galaxy FC.

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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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