The University of Botswana (UB) student centre will be the place to be this weekend for fans of combat or full contact sports.
It is that time of the year when Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) hosts the national championship semi-finals on Saturday followed by the finals on Sunday. The cream of local pugilism will be on full display to determine the best boxers in the country, who will eventually form part of the national team. There is no doubt that there will be an orgy of fierce battles in the ring.
One of the most anticipated battles will feature two of the best welterweights (69kg) in the country – defending champion Lentswe Zwinila up against Mmusi Tswiige. Tswiige has been on surge recently and will use his height ,reach and athleticism to outmatch Zwinila. Tswiige will also come in as the more complete boxer. Nevertheless, Zwinila possesses the brute force and power to punish any opponent.
Tswiige and Zwinila are no strangers to each other as they share a well documented history. This intense battle will test both skill and boxing wit from each man, whoever will blink in the ring will definitely have to withstand the heat.
The muscle bound powerhouse Zwinila has won the championship three times in a row, however he still has a score to settle with the dynamic Tswiige who defeated him 2-1 in their last interclub battle a few months back.
“Expect a win from me, I want to silence everybody, there is no doubt in my mind that the title will be mine again,” Zwinila said this week. Zwinila said he will be more focused and not let the game plan slip away from him.
The Glen Valley based Botswana Defence Force (BDF) officer said he will be very observant and cautious of his opponent’s mistakes and will surely use them to his advantage.Another bout that has the potential of thrilling fans is Onkarabile Scara Mothibedi vs. Basha Motlhane. Nevertheless, Motlhane said come what may, he is more than ready to face off against Scara and give him the taste of his own medicine.
“I understand Scara is a reputable boxer but I am going for gold. He defeated me in 2014 during the Mooka Mageu competition, this is my chance to level the score,” Motlhane said.On the other hand, SSKB headcoach Larona Francis said Onkarabile ‘Scara’ Mothibedi is fully prepared for his bout against Basha Motlhane of Prisons Boxing Club.
Francis noted that he has since introduced his boxer to professional style boxing training and he does not expect any major challenge from the Prisons based Motlhane. Furthermore, there will be a lot of interest on the last bout of the day, when Keoagile Rantutu locks horns with Zibane Chikanda (Eastern Military Garrison). The 75kg middleweight bout is expected to go either way as both fighters have a pool of accolades draped on their shoulders.
However, Francis said his boxer is free from injury and has reached the level of fitness he desired. He expressed gratitude to all the assistant coaches and BDF management for offering a helping hand and creating a conducive environment for their boxers to excel. “I believe on Sunday SSKB will be buzzing with utmost excitement.”
Moreover 1.2.5 boxing club Coach Bond Ngubula said he has his hopes pinned on the woman, Katlego Olatotswe to bring home the desired results. Olatotswe will be competing in the women section welterweight in the finals on Sunday against either Makaba Nametsegang or Keneilwe Rakhudu.
She will be coming in as an underdog in the tournament but Ngubula remains confident. Other interesting bouts will include Chabulula Khumalo vs. Rabokhokho Gofaone and Lightweight (64kg) Kabo Seitshiro vs. Moabi Ngaka.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
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.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
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.