BULAWAYO: Botswana’s boxing quartet of Atang Mosenke, Mohammed Otukile, Kutlwano Ogaketse and Wame Mathonsi are through to this afternoon’s Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Under-20 Games’ semi-finals in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Botswana made a perfect start to the ongoing games with three boxers convincingly winning their bouts at the City Hall on Saturday afternoon. The fourth boxer, Mathonsi, is through courtesy of a bye in the 69kg category.
Otukile took on a Mozambican boxer in a 49kg bout and posted an easy 3-0 win. The young pugilist got little challenge from his opponent and, in no time, sailed through to the semi-final.
Ogaketse was next, facing off against a South African boxer in a 52kg bout.
He dominated in the first two rounds, but seemed to fizzle out because of fatigue. He eventually won the bout 3-0 to progress to the semis.
The captain, Mosenke, was outstanding when he took on a Swaziland boxer in an effortless 3-0 win.
In a post-bout interview, he told The Monitor Sport he was happy about his performance and believes a gold is possible.
The team coach, Master Luza said their target was to get silver or gold with the four boxers already guaranteed medals. Two of his boxers won medals at the Africa Youth Games - AYG - in Botswana early this year. Otukile won gold while Ogaketse got bronze.
“We have a very good chance more so that we have medalists from AYG. Atang lost to the eventual champion in the AYG and I believe he will do well this time. We have four medals already,” Luza said.
Zimbabwe have done fairly well in boxing with three of its boxers making the semis while Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia struggled a little on Saturday.
Luza believes Botswana is among the top countries in this year’s competition.
“I have not seen any country I consider a threat, I think they are actually looking at us to see how they can beat us. I’m quite impressed by Zimbabwe, they have not been doing well in boxing in recent years. Perhaps hosting has really helped them. They have
“We are bringing home four medals, there is no way we cannot bring a gold. In fact if these guys sleep, we will bring all four gold,” Luza said.
President Robert Mugabe officially opened the games that kicked off on Friday at the Barbourfields Stadium.
Luza dismissed rumours that all was not well in Zimbabwe, praising the local organising committee for a job well done.
“I have heard all kinds of media reports coming from home and I am surprised because all is well here. We are happy, the only challenge was accreditation, but that was on the first day, which usually happens at most events. They are sorting out everything, they have ensured that accommodation is comfortable and the food is great,” he said.
Luza added that the boxing venue was top class.
“The facilities here are great, it is better than back home, we have never played boxing in such a ring, it looks like a top class venue. There is an auditorium kind of arrangement, the hall’s architectural design is excellent, the seats are like VIP seats for everyone. The warm-up area is also beautiful,” added the former boxer.
In football, the Botswana girls’ team lost their opening match against South Africa 3-1. South Africa took the lead through Amogelang Motau’s strike at the stroke of half time, shortly before Botswana’s goalkeeper Sedilame Bosija was forced off by injury after a tussle for possession in the box. She was replaced by Aratwa Kasemang.
Refilwe Tholakele drew Botswana level with a beautiful strike in the 70th minute.
But South Africa were back in the lead two minutes later through Mosili Makhoali before firing the third to secure a win.
In tennis, Emmanuel Mabhechu went down 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 to a Namibian while Phatsimo Ruele beat an Angolan 6-0, 6-0.
The netball team lost 55-25 to South Africa. The games resume today after yesterday’s break.