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Girls miss out on All Africa Golf Trophy

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The local junior team that will be competing at the annual All Africa Junior Golf Trophy scheduled for the 12th -15th March 2019 will be competing without the girls’ team.

Speaking at a media briefing held in Gaborone ahead of the games, the chairman of the event organizing committee, Robert Mpabange said that they do not have a committed girls golf team in Botswana.

He expressed worry that even though they had wished that both girls and boys participate at the event, the reality on the ground only allowed a group consisting of boys. The boys’ team will be under the care of coach Mpho Kelosiwang and has the likes of Lerako Molefhe who played in the 2018 World Kids Championships held in Malaysia, Agang Diraditsile, Phillip Collop, Leruri Lemohang and Lemohang Masalila.

Mpabange mentioned that assembling a youth team came with great challenges given that BGU does not have an existing league structure that can create competitiveness in the youth.
He added that Botswana does not have a system to rank players and there are no dedicated facilities for junior golf development.

Adding to that, the President of Botswana Golf Union (BGU), Enoch Mushango said that most local girls do not play golf. Instead the game has in the past been attracting foreign players, “We have only one girl whom we are still monitoring; we wish to attract the girl child to the game,” Mushango said.

Mushango added that BGU has to pay more attention to grassroots development because the performance has not been satisfactory in the recent past. Going into the games, the BGU president noted that they hope for satisfactory results given that Botswana has been finishing on the 10th spot and below.

Countries that will compete at the tournament include South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Mauritius, Tunisia and Gabon amongst others. About 70 athletes will be playing at the competition venue in Phakalane Golf Estate Hotel Resort.

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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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