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SAPOA games start today

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BotswanaPost will host the 2016 Southern Africa Postal Operators Association (SAPOA) Games at Molepolole Sports Stadium from 26th – 28th October.
Addressing the media in Gaborone on Wednesday, BotswanaPost Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cornelius Ramatlhakwane said the games are meant to foster the spirit of unity amongst the staff of various postal operators in the SADC region.

Ramatlhakwane said as postal operators, they are mandated to deliver services to the community regardless of their location hence the need for a healthy and active staff. He said the event generated revenue for hosting countries and contributes immensely to the economy from a tourism perspective.“Botswana will be showcasing its opportunities and heritage activities to the participating countries and there will also be cultural exchange,” he stated.

Ramatlhakwane said the games would be used to showcase the development of sport in Botswana as well as show other countries how unified Botswana tribes are.   

Ramatlhakwane said BotswanaPost plays an integral part of society in the country, adding that the intention is to give back to the community. Moreover, he noted that some of the players from Botswana were identified through the ‘Re Ba Bona Ha programme’ “We want to engage youngsters and motivate them to participate in sport.”  

Countries which will be taking part in the games are Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia. South Africa is said to have pulled out following unforeseen circumstances. Sport codes represented at the tournament include Football, Netball, Volleyball and Athletics. There will also be fun game activities as well as tug of war and mailbag races.

The BotswanaPost CEO said they will host a Gala dinner at Travel Lodge where prizes will be awarded for the winners of the competition.Reached for comment the Local Organising Chairperson of the Games Georginah Dennison said officials from Lesotho, Namibia and South-Africa arrived safely and settled well in the country.She said everything was on point to accommodate the visitors and was looking forward to the commencement of the games today. (Wednesday).

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.

Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.

“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.

Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.

“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.

Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year  for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having  already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.

“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”

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BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet

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Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.

Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe.  No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.

Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.

However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry  of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”

Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.

However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.

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