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.
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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