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Khama opens F/town sports complex



The official opening of Francistown Sports Complex tomorrow in the midst of Botswana Games by President Ian Khama Seretse Khama will be overshadowed by the Zebras celebrity status in the second city.

The Zebras still holds a record breaking attendance number of 26 662 in their game with the much fancied Mali two months ago albeit coming at a fee and fatigue for the fans. The stadium will for the first time welcome the president who has a tough task of filling it up for free which many soccer pundits have ruled out as they claim the Zebras to be more popular than the president.

Khama who is scheduled to hijack the ongoing Botswana Games on Thursday to officially open the facility will most likely be faced with vacant seats as the Botswana Games failed to impress multitudes of residents of the second city unlike the Zebras. 

The Botswana Games also have no hype as there is no branding or anything to reflect that the games are ongoing. Information reaching this publication suggests that some civic leaders are bent on ensuring that Khama finds empty stands allegedly because he denied them the opportunity to name their stadium.

An inside source at the Francistown City Council revealed that the powers that be are not happy with the president’s decision to name the newly opened stadium without consulting them.

That’s why the Botswana Games were not mobilised unlike in the case of the Zebras who compelled the leadership of the City Council to use Public Address systems to announce the Zebras games on air and in all locations of the city. If they do not have beef with the president, why are they not publicising his official opening stopover?” the source wondered.

Bobby Gaseitsiwe of the Botswana Games organising committee rubbished claims that the game’s no hype was politically motivated as akin to comparing an apple to a pin. “Botswana Games cannot be compared to the Zebras who are a brand recognised all over Africa.

Even if the entrance is free the Under 19 year olds cannot surpass their seniors who currently hold a record breaking attendance number. Take an example of our national Female Soccer team.

When they play at the stadium even at free entrance, the stands are always empty since they are not yet a huge brand. Some people are comparing these games with the past African Youth Games, which had a higher expenditure than us. When we budget we look at basic needs like accommodation for technical staff in hotels and lodges as opposed to bill boards like some people have been suggesting,” he explained. 

Gaseitsiwe said that all stakeholders including the FCC have played their part in the preparation including information dissemination to the members of the public. “Everybody involved during the preparations of the Botswana Games played their part. We have called press conferences, as well as advertising the games over the radio and our local television station,’’ Gaseitsiwe added.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney



CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again



Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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