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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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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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