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Team Botswana Chef De Mission in the just concluded Rio Olympic Games, Moses Moruisi, says they had selected an injury free team for the international sport showpiece.

Speaking to Sun Sports shortly after Team Botswana landed at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport on Tuesday, Moruisi said the athletes suffered injuries during the Olympic games.“We took a fit team to Rio, the injuries were sudden and unexpected.

I cannot say we went to Rio with injuries. Baboloki Thebe competed at the world Junior championships and he participated in all of the events until the relay,” said Moruisi.

“When we got to Rio there was concern that he had a muscle problem. We even inquired for assistance from the Nike physiotherapist before his race. After the race we learnt that he cannot compete any longer.” Moruisi explained that one of the key athletes Nijel Amos also had a hamstring injury between training and the preliminary heat events.

Nevertheless, Moruisi did not take anything away from the team. “Overall this was a very good and impressive performance bearing in mind that we had two juniors who demonstrated through their race times that they are improving drastically.”  Moruisi appealed for “perfect structures” to be put in place to help the athletes improve in future and that the young athletes should continue to compete at the Junior championships and avoid intense major events.

“Looking at the number of competitions they have competed at this year, I think we should not allow them to participate in the Diamond League since they had a long season.” Meanwhile Team Botswana received a warm reception in Gaborone despite failing to bring home any medal.

Local diehard fans showed support with chanting and ululations reverberating from the airport. However, when the team touched down in Gaborone around lunchtime it was without four of their compatriots -Naomi Ruele (swimming), Given Bogopa (Judo), Isaac Makwala (track) and David van de Colff (swimming).
Moruisi said he expected the athletes to land safely soon after. “It was difficult to get their (athletes) tickets.

There were a lot of teams in Rio so we had a problem to get out of the city as they were struggling to get tickets,” he said. Moruisi said that the prize money dangled before the athletes had a positive impact on their performance at the games, adding that such a gesture did not put any pressure on them. “A life of an athlete is based on prize money, every medal has a prize even the Nike contracts have a price for each achievement.

The International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) awards athletes with up to 100 000 US dollars for record breaking performances. This is part and parcel of the trade so our own should get used to it as it is embedded in athletics.”

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Netball regresses

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When successfully hosting of the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup (NYWC) this past year under the Tebogo Lebotse Sebego regime, Botswana netball team (Under 21) showcased a crème dela cream squad, boasting exceptional players such as Pearl Maribe, Sarona Hans, Florence Poane and Cheludo David, just to mention a few.

This left many people anticipating for a smooth transition to the senior team and continue with their impressive performances at elite stages. However, this has not been the case as the national team has been performing dismally, failing to book a spot at the 2018 Africa Netball World Cup back in August, which will be hosted in England, Liverpool next year.

Prior the 2018 Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers staged in Zambia, Botswana roped in a mentor from South Africa, Dorette Badenhorst who confidently said in an interview with Sun Sport before departing to Zambia with team, that the team was in good shape. The results, however did not show and the coach was gone.

In an interview with Sun Sport this week, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Theresa Hirchfeld explained why the international coach (Badenhorst) left immediately after the qualifiers, “We had no money to hire an international coach but we desperately needed one hence Spar came to our rescue to bring Dorette Badenhorst on board to help us specifically qualify for the 2019 Netball World Cup edition.

We had to part ways with her because we did not have funds to continue with her,” she explained. According to BONA PRO, the continued absence of the domestic league can be pointed as the main reason why the national team has not been performing well recently, “We do not have a league running at the moment, hence resorting to meeting only on weekends in preparation for important tournaments.

However, I think we did fairly well at the just ended Diamond Challenge tournament held in South Africa looking at the fact that we were not able to go with our full squad due to Police Department events that hindered the selection of players from the Police side,” said the BONA PRO.

The 2018 Diamond Challenge Netball tournament in South Africa, Limpopo was played by Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa’s president XII. The local team did not fare well as they lost most of the games they played, but only managed to salvage one consolation win.

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Knockout Football tournament returns

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The thrills, spills and high stakes of knock out football have returned to the local scene following the announcement of the new Orange FA Cup.

The mobile telecommunication company announced a P12.6 million, three-year deal that will see over 30 teams competing for the first prize of P700 000.After years of FA cup drought since the much-loved Coca Cola cup, 48 teams from the BTC Premiership, Debswana National First Division (DNFD) and regions are expected to slug it out for honour and glory in the newly introduced tournament scheduled for 2019. Addressing members of the media and other football stakeholders in Gaborone this week, BFA President Maclean Letshwiti said sponsorship remains a challenge to local football and other sporting codes.

“I am excited that the regions will finally get a platform to have an event which they can look forward to, with the prospect of generating income,” Letshwiti said. “Sponsorship is key to football as this is how our industry can grow and change the lives of footballers. When we crafted this sponsorship, we wanted an arrangement that can assist regional teams.” Letshwiti said Orange Botswana is no stranger to football as the company has been in football before and they are currently proud sponsors of CAF.

“A platform like the FA Cup offers a great -opportunity for all our league and structure to be scouted and seen by national team coaches across the board. We also now get an opportunity to close the gap between our leagues and increase competition for participation or qualification into the cup.”

Speaking during the same occasion, the Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Benon said the sponsorship will be approximately P4.2 million per football season for a total of three seasons.

“This initiative demonstrates Orange Botswana’s strategy to cultivate talent and support local sports development in line with previous sponsorships like the Kabelano Charity Cup, the Orange Phikwe National Marathon and also the official Zebras National team sponsorship ahead of the historic appearance at the AFCON finals in 2012,” he said. Through these sponsorships, Benon said they have realised the significance of sport activities beyond entertainment.

“It is also about uniting communities, strengthening relationships and supporting activities. The sponsorship by Orange will cover prize money, individual awards, team kits, tournament administration fees and travelling, to name a few.” The competitions will kick off with eight teams from both the DNFD north and south. The first round will also include 16 regional teams. The second round will include 16 winners from the first round and 16 BTC Premiership teams. The second round is expected to produce the last 16 teams who will proceed to the quarter finals.

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