Mmegi Online :: Yet another eventful year in sports
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Last Updated
Wednesday 19 September 2018, 14:07 pm.
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Yet another eventful year in sports

Just as in the past, the year 2014 has been eventful in sports. Staff Writers BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO and CALISTUS KOLANTSHO highlight some of the events and issues that affected sports
By Boitumelo Khutsafalo Calistus Kolantsho Fri 19 Dec 2014, 09:45 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Yet another eventful year in sports








BFA internal bickering

The Botswana Football Association (BFA), which seems to thrive on controversy, was at it again. There was reported bad blood between Britons, Zebras coach, Peter Butler and general manager Keith Masters.

Butler at some point confirmed to the media that he had disagreements with Masters ahead of the Zebras’ game against Senegal.  “I had a disagreement with CEO which I am not happy about but it doesn’t distract me from the preparations.

He knows fully well what he has done and I am disappointed.

He has put a huge cloud over our relationship but I will stay because I have a good relationship with the president (Tebogo Sebego), (vice president) Tariq (Babitseng) and other people here,” Butler said at the time. Few months later, two other officials, Zebras assistant coach, Pio Paul and BFA technical director, Ben Kgomela were said to have engaged in heated exchanges during a Premier League match at the SSKB Stadium which left the association facing another relationship issue.

The strained relations at the association came at a time when a lot was expected in terms of taking football in the country to a higher level.  Not only was the association rocked by internal bickering, suspensions were also the order of the day.  Kgomela is currently serving suspension as well as the vice president administration, Tariq Babitseng.

 

Zebras flop

The Zebras crashed out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers in the group stages with just a point. After winning the first two preliminary rounds, Zebras found themselves pitted in the same group with powerhouses of African football, Senegal, Egypt and Tunisia.  They lost five games in the group and managed to draw just one, against Tunisia who needed a point to qualify. As usual, there were issues of players threatening not to play some games over appearance fees and allowances.

There was also an issue of Ofentse Nato and Mogakolodi Ngele storming out of camp after a tiff with the technical team.  Nato was reportedly drunk when he reported for camp while Ngele walked out after being reprimanded for poor performance by assistant coach, Pio Paul.

Nato has since announced his retirement from the national team. Ngele reportedly apologised and was called back into the team for the game against Senegal.  There were, however, some positives about the team this year. Coach, Butler has built a large pool of players which include players as young as 18 years.  The likes of Unobatsha Mbaiwa, Segolame Boy, Obonye Moswate all were introduced into the team for the first time by Butler and did well.

The fact that Butler has given every good player a chance to break into the national team has given hope to all the players who in the past had thought the national team for others.

 

BPL in smooth transition

The Botswana Premier League (BPL) also had an eventful year. Besides signing a new deal with league sponsors, be MOBILE, they have also changed the leadership.   Following the relegation of Uniao Flamengo Santos, it was a given that the then BPL chairperson, Mokganedi Molefe would vacate the position.

He was however, given a lifeline continue chairperson for a while.

At the time, Molefe was heading the negotiations with be MOBILE over new deal. Molefe left last week and in came Arnold Somolekae as the new chairperson.  Somolekae is assisted by sports journalist, Monnakgotla Mojaki while Walter Kgabong is the new treasurer.

Compared to other years, BPL this year has not attracted much controversy except just recently when some of the games that were fixtured at the National Stadium had to be moved elsewhere.

The issue being that be MOBILE as the league sponsors, were not happy with the fact that Mascom, their competitor banners are visible at some stands at the facility.  Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) they have to maintain the stadium and therefore have to raise funds by selling advertising space to any company. Mascom did buy the advertising space and be MOBILE reportedly is not happy that Mascom will gain mileage during the be MOBILE Premier League games.  The issue is still being handled by both the BNSC, Botswana Football Association and BPL.

 

Montsho doping saga

The year 2014 did not go well for former world champion Amantle Montsho. The athlete tested positive for a banned methylhexaneamine after the 400m finals at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July.

The athlete faces between six months and two years ban.  When the first results came out during the Games, she requested for a B sample, which also came out positive. She was provisionally suspended and her race results, in

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which she finished fourth, nullified.   The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) initially handled the matter and after Montsho accepted the findings, it was forwarded to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which referred it to the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) for appropriate sanction. BAA was expected to release its verdict this week.

 

Nijel Amos amazing return

Nijel Amos has proven his critics wrong this year by sprinting all the way to the top in the continent and the world championships.  Having been a subject of controversy just a year ago, accused of, among other things, of wayward behaviour and neglecting athletics for a newfound love for music recording, Amos made a great comeback.  In the year 2014, Amos became the best 800 meters man in the world. He is the Commonwealth Games and the African champion.

The athlete is also the Diamond League champion after his 1: 43.7 win.

Amos completed the year by becoming the Continental Cup champion, outrunning Duane Solomon, Mo Aman and Adam Kszczot over the final 100m to win the race in 1:44.8.

The highlight of Amos competitions this year was when he defeated David Rudisha at the Commonwealth Games. Two years ago, he finished second to Rudisha at the London 2012 Games.

 

BCF reaches milestone

Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) has had good year, hosting all their tournaments and sending representatives to all the international competitions.

Botswana chess players started the year by attending Zimbabwe International Open in January. International Master Providence Oatlhotse represented the country and finished in the second position.  The continental tournament was attended by 200 players.

In July, the federation sent men and women national team players, Thato Olebile, Thabo Gumpo, Onkemetse Francis and Kgalalelo Botlhole to represent the country at the 2014 Zone 4.3 Chess Championship in Namibia. Francis was awarded a Woman Fide Master title by the World Chess Federation after her impressive performance at the tournament.  The highlight of the year was when the federation sent the national team to the 2014 World Chess Olympiad in Norway in August.

The downside was the political instability that was caused by the world chess federation presidential elections between July and August.  The federation was nearly torn apart by the situation.

BOKA leadership crisis

Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) has had a rough year and at the end of it all, the president who was voted into office in May, decided to quit.

The association remains without a president. Prior to that, some members of the executive committee resigned, leaving the federation with a skeletal leadership.  BOKA for the first time has failed to send the national team to attend international and regional competitions such as Zone Six. The presidential elections were expected to have been this week but affiliates refused, arguing that they should be held after 30 days after resignation of the president.  The former president mentioned that one of the reasons he was leaving was due to the interference of Botswana National Sports Council on the affairs of karate.

“I could not operate in such an environment,” said Tshepho Bathai in an interview with Mmegi Sport recently.

 

Debswana First Division-South League

The Debswana First Division-South League started a bit league due to the delays in the release of grants. Despite that the league started with a new set of agreement with the sponsor.  The agreement was that the teams should no longer be given grants on a quarterly basis.

The league saw the arrival of a new club, Jwaneng Galaxy FC. The team was formed by merging the mining town’s four -football teams. The team finished the first round at the top of log with 21 points.  The first round has for the first time in years ended on time with all the matches having been played. The league debutants, Lesirane FC and Sharps Electrical FC did not disappoint.

There were also some changes in the leadership, with Tarique Babitseng being replaced by Sam Keitireng.  

 

Impressive Africa Youth Games

While a lot can be done, Botswana can remain proud it has managed to host the Africa Youth Games successfully early this year.  Initially, there were doubts as to the preparedness of the Botswana Africa Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOC) to successfully stage the event.  However, they outdid themselves and international sports commentators hailed this year’s games as the best. The first games were held in Morocco.

Not only was the opening ceremony out of this world, but also the attendance at all the venues hosting the sporting activities were always filled to capacity.

Botswana did well on the field, taking a total of 31 medals (six gold, six silver and 19 bronze).

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