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Stage set for Botswana Games

Final touches: Gaborone District athletes going through the paces at theNational Stadium yesterday
All is set for the kick-off of the fifth edition of the Botswana Games with the official opening billed for the National Stadium on Sunday.

The participating 16 districts arrive tomorrow for the biennial tournament, the last being held in defending champions’ turf, Francistown.

The Games Organising Committee chairperson, Bobby Gaseitsiwe told Mmegi Sport yesterday that the teams have confirmed their attendance and they have been in training camps. He said accreditations are done and by Thursday, they were ready for collection. “The competition schedule is out and venues are ready. These are the same venues we are going to use as Botswana hosts the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region V Games next year,” he said. Gaseitsiwe said equipment for the different codes has been purchased.

He said they have been unable to secure the University of Botswana (UB) Indoor Sports Arena as the costs were prohibitive.  Meanwhile, Gaseitsiwe said technical officials have been engaged and signed codes of conduct. He said the games are run by national sport associations. Gaborone district has been struggling on the road to the competition. The district general team manager, Gaontebale Malete said they did well in the last games, finishing second overall. He said this time around, preparations have not been going well.

“The technical personnel has high expectations because we are hosting but the situation on the ground is telling a different story,” he said.

Malete said they wanted to challenge Francistown for the title but that will be a tough task. He said despite the team being in the same location, training has been affected by lack of facilities.

“We are not even allowed to use the

National Stadium. When we seek help from UB, they send us back to the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). When it comes to swimming, we had to approach certain private entities for assistance and it was the same thing with tennis,” said a disappointed Malete. Sowa Town district general team manager, Hope Koama is hopeful that his team is ready to challenge for honours. He said they want to hit the ground running from the first assignment.

He said his team will field athletes in all the codes except netball and basketball. Koama said in football they will be fielding the women’s team only.

“As Francistown’s neighbours, we have an advantage as our players are able to play against them most of the time. That is an opportunity to gauge themselves against the best. The leadership of Sowa especially the town mayor, George Mphane has been at the forefront of giving the team mental strength,” Koama said. Francistown general team manager, Martha Malope said they are coming to Gaborone for one thing; to defend their title. She said the team is ready to compete and they have beefed their squad with fresh talent that will be making its debut at the games. Malope said the swimming and netball teams remain the same from 2015. She said some of the athletes have been representing Francistown since 2009. The other districts: Central, Chobe, Gantsi, Jwaneng, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Lobatse, North East, North West, Selebi-Phikwe, South East and Southern. 




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