SELEBI-PHIKWE: The disconnection of utilities at Makhubu Club has adversely affected the local bowling team. Water and electricity supplies were cut off following the closure of BCL Mine, which was responsible for paying for the utilities.
Botswana Bowling Association (BBA) public relations officer, John Gaborutwe said there are currently no activities at the Phikwe Bowling Club following the disconnections.
Players are, instead, forced to travel to Francistown for practice sessions, a taxing undertaking as most of the bowlers have no steady income.
The Selebi-Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) has promised to assist with reconnections, but electricity cables have been stolen. Despite the dire condition of the greens, Selebi-Phikwe has managed to provide two players to the national team.
If no solution is found, the annual Botsogo tournament, held around November, would be affected. Gaborutwe said once the pitch is ready, they would start preparing for a major tournament scheduled for November otherwise it would have to be moved to Orapa or Francistown.
“We have lost sponsorships because most companies that sponsored us were supported by BCL Mine. We are likely to have no sponsor for the November tournament. It is likely to be self sponsored because we have lost almost all the financial support and we are likely to have no prize monies for the tournament,” he said.
Gaborutwe said they will continue to approach potential sponsors to support players’ welfare.
As a result of lack of practice matches, the performance of the Selebi-Phikwe team has dropped and it has never made it to the top three of the Haskins tournament since the mine closure. This is despite the fact that the team is the only one in Botswana with a high number of under 25 players.
“We need resources for them to practise and ferrying them to Francistown for practices needs approval and support from parents.
He cited key players such as Oabona Motladiile who has relocated, while Nelly and Dick Senna have not been available for the two previous national events. Khumo Kebalatetse, on the other hand has moved to Jwaneng and the team is now forced to groom young players.
Meanwhile, the national team will participate for the first time in the International Quadrangular Tournament slated for Namibia from September 6 to 9. The tournament will pit Botswana against Zimbabwe, Namibia select and Namibia national team.
Gaborutwe said this is a preparatory tournament for two major events in 2019, being the African State tournament to be held in Kenya and the Atlantic Championships in Wales, where the top 10 countries would qualify for the World Championships.
“Preparations are well underway and teams are doing technical assessment. The national team recently had a practice match that pitted Botswana select side against Botswana national team. Marea Modutlwa won the ladies singles, beating national singles champion, Boikhutso Mooketsi. Mooketsi has already qualified for the World Champion of Champions. On the men’s side, the reigning singles champion Joseph Nthobelang defeated Joshua Mothusi by two straight sets,” he said.
Gaborutwe is happy that the majority of the players who won, such as Nthobelang, Carlos Tigere and Regent Read, were gaining their first caps. On the women’s side, Molatedi Douma, Boikhutso Mooketsi and Mpopi Pelemo won their first caps.