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Chess dream team off to Olympiad

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The Botswana chess dream team that will represent the country at the 2016 World (Chess) Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan is the best the country can possibly mount.

Speaking at a sending off ceremony in Tlokweng on Monday, Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) president Tshenolo Maruatona said the formidable team assembled by the Botswana Chess Federation (BCA) went through rigorous selection to ensure they are ready for the task ahead.

The team was expected to leave for Baku yesterday (Tuesday). Addressing players and other stakeholders, Maruatona said the Olympiad was the highest platform for any chess player with over 180 teams from all over the world competing. “Only a few outstanding individuals can manage to make it through to the competition,” he said.

Maruatona reminded the team of the tough battle ahead of them at the Olympiad, adding that the international showpiece is made up of world grandmasters. “Africa has only two Grandmasters so far and the competition is not as easy as some might think.” However, Maruatona urged the team not to be passive victims of circumstance at the competition, but to be vigorous and aggressive towards their opponents.

“The dignity of our country lies on your shoulders. Lift up our national flag with pride and project qualities that will represent us well on the board”. The President noted that chess players should take pride in the game, for it is a sporting code that produces reputable academic personnel. “We are not just any other code and this is something we always mention to our sponsors.”

Maruatona said the BCA is proud of delivering the board game that engages the strategic and critical thinking of players, adding that people should note that the more the mind is trained, the sharper it becomes. Even though the team has not attained the desired optimal preparation, Maruatona expressed absolute confidence in the team, which is a blend of well-experienced and pristine players.

The female team consists of star players like Onkemetse Francis, Thapelo Francis, Mob Mabedi and Boikhutso Modongo. Representing the male team is Ndawana Mosenya, Moakofi Notha, Keletshabile Monnatsheko, Thuso Mosutha and the youngest player Otsile Mapini. Maruatona explained that funding was one major setback that the team encountered. However, Bathopele Construction Company came to their rescue and sponsored the team to the tune of P75,000 in early August.

“Our company is all about giving back to the community and if resources are permitting we are hopeful that next year we will inject more to the cause,” said Sarona Odirile, a manager at Bathopele.

For her part, BCA spokesperson, Keenese Katisenge, said the team is aiming for category medal in each section at the Olympiad, improve Botswana’s rankings and also acquire new titles.She said the games would commence on the 2nd of September. The team will be expected back home on the 15th September.

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Selibe Phikwe bowls club faces closure

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Selibe-Phikwe Bowls Club faces a possible collapse, Sun Sports has learnt. This follows the closure of the BCL mine back in 2016, which has seen the club struggle without the supply of electricity and water.

Speaking to this publication this week, the chairperson of Phikwe club Oabona Motladiile said that things have been stagnant since the mine closed doors. “Nothing is happening here, there is no action at all because when the mine closed, it meant there was no one to pay for the water and electricity bills,” Motladiile said.

Motlaadile explained that their grounds are situated at Area 2, a place that the mine paid all bills for, however it has since proved very hard for them to maintain the green that needs constant watering. He said they do not have any alternative facilities to use and have since informed the Phikwe council about their difficulties but still solutions have not been found.

The Phikwe Chairman at the time of going to press said he was not sure of the exact figures they needed on a monthly basis but around 20 000 litres of water and electricity not exceeding P 1 000. He lamented that the Phikwe club is one of the oldest clubs locally and at one point had about 30 members. However, numbers have been dropping because there is no action.

“We are a very competitive club of men and women who make it into the national team,” he said. John Gaborutwe who is the BBA Vice President said that the possible closure of Phikwe Bowls Club was one of the topical issues to be discussed during the BBA Annual General Meeting (AGM) this coming weekend. The affiliates will be expected to vote for a new Vice President, Treasurer and Director of Bowls as the term for the current office bearers expires.

The AGM will be followed by the start of the Rose Bowl tournament. The tournament is the 1st of the 5-series major tournaments for the 2019 season. The remaining tournaments will be held in Francistown, Orapa, Jwaneng and Phikwe respectively. Jwaneng club is the defending champions.

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BFA FIRES BRIGHT

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Allegations coming out of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) are that national football team head coach Major David Bright has been fired as of Tuesday this week. The illustrious veteran tactician took over from Englishman Peter James Butler more than a year ago.

At the helm of the Zebras, Bright struggled to bring home positive results and find winning combinations. Having failed to lead Zebras past the qualifying stages of the 2019 Afcon competition was the first sign of trouble for the veteran coach at Lekidi. Furthermore the experienced tactician was expected to improve Botswana’s position in the FIFA world rankings. The Zebras are currently in the lowly 145th position.

According to sources close to the matter, Bright was handed a termination letter and challenged to show cause why he should not be relieved of his duties at Lekidi. As one of the most decorated coaches in both Botswana and CAF region, Bright has coached numerous teams including South Africa’s Bay United, Gaborone United and Morupule Wonders.

Reached for comment on the matter the BFA president Maclean Letshwiti insisted that the former army man is still in charge of the senior national team. For his part Bright said he could not comment on the matter and referred Sun Sport to the BFA.

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