Tonight at Molepolole Sports Complex, Mochudi Centre Chiefs (MCC) will be given another chance to prove if they have successfully pulled out of the BTC Premiership league relegation zone.
Following months of the relegation threat, the Kgatleng giants managed a limp out of the hot zone a week ago when they collected maximum points against BDF XI.When they play BR Highlanders under floodlights tonight, MCC will need to make a statement; whether they are still skating on thin ice or if the dark clouds have cleared. With only eight games left before the season ends, there is no telling what the future holds for MCC.
While a few years ago, MCC had established themselves as premier league giants and arch rivals to defending champions, Township Rollers, dwindling fortunes have since been causing anxiety at MCC. Even relative league newcomers have come out to humiliate the once mighty Chiefs. Magosi are expected to trot into today’s match without a head coach but instead team General Manager, Jalal Zaahid has been asked to step in temporarily.
This comes after the caretaker coach, Itumeleng Duiker was informed by team management that he will not be coach but can only be on the bench. It is still not yet clear if the new coach will ever come given that the 2018/2019 season is nearing a conclusion. However, the club chairman Raymond Tsheko has since made assurances that the new coach is on his way. Meanwhile, Mahalapye outfit BR Highlanders, is in no position to pull out the sympathy card as they cannot afford to be comfortable, only six points separates them from 13th placed MCC. BR Highlanders, Coach Blessing Moyo knows better that he cannot afford to return to the dusty grounds when he was only promoted this season.
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.