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Women boxers scintillating bouts impress

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Local women’s boxing seems to be making a comeback in local structures of the combat sport. At an interclub tournament held in Lobatse over the weekend there was an impressive four women’s bouts featuring relatively new faces in the sport.

Two of the bouts were walkovers while the other two bouts were TKOs. Recently, the Botswana Boxing Association decried their difficulty in retaining women boxers. The four bouts over the weekend saw women competing in 49, 60 and 75kg divisions. However, these are a far cry from BoBA’s heydays when the likes of Pearl Morake and Keneilwe Rakhudu would often represent the country at regional competitions like Zone 4.

In a brief interview, BoBA spokesperson, Kenny Maragana said the women at the interclub tournament displayed an appetising performance, adding that the association is planning   to revive and bring women back within BoBA structures.

Maragana said BoBA’s secretary general, Irene Ntelamo, who is also a member of the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) is fighting to ensure that women’s boxing finally becomes fully-fledged within BoBA structures. Maragana said there is hope for young upcoming boxers to develop and become prestigious in the future.

About the interclub tournament at Peleng Community Hall in Lobatse, Maragana said it uncovered new grassroots talent that immediately made a statement. “There is surely hope for the future, we witnessed eye-catching bouts in which some of our seasoned boxers were given a run for their money by up and coming talent.”

Among the interesting bouts was a middleweight (75kg) contest featuring Keoagile Rantutu and upstart Obakeng Molebo. Molebo gave the sensational Rantutu a run for his money. “They young boxer did not give the established Rantutu any respect in the ring, although Rantutu eventually won 2-1.”

In another bout the talented Otukile Mohammed made sure there were sparks in his exciting 56kg bout against Thabiso Mpolokeng. Mohammed won 2-1. Maragana said the fitness level and maturity of the boxers speak volumes, adding that BoBA will soon be telling a different and interesting story.

Meanwhile, Maragana explained that the tournaments are meant to prepare for the Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region’s five competitions to be held in Angola in December.

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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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