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Selebi-Phikwe early favourites to host 'Mantshwabisi'

KABELO BORANABI
Desert Race PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The venue for next year’s Kalahari 1000km Toyota Desert Race is yet to be decided, but Selebi-Phikwe has featured prominently as the possible next destination, the Botswana Motor Sport (BMS) has said.

Earlier this month, the Botswana Tourism Organisation announced that the most attended sporting and social event in the country will move away from the mining town of Jwaneng where it has been held for the last five years.

“The Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) has made a decision to relocate 1000 Toyota Race from Jwaneng to a new location to be announced,” BTO said last month.

“You have been a great strategic partner we wish to convey our sincere appreciation for the great job done.

Let me take this opportunity to profoundly thank you for your dedication and support during the five years that you successfully hosted.” BMS president, Lebogang Mosope told Mmegi Sport this week that the mother body is still in consultation with relevant key players and the next venue is yet to be decided on. 

However, Mosope hinted that the event could be heading to Selebi-Phikwe. 

“We have not confirmed any venue just yet. We are still in negotiations with key players; we are currently in the consultation process.

I cannot really state much as I said we are still in negotiations, but Selebi-Phikwe is the name that has come up numerous times in the places we are accessing,” he said.

According to reports, SPEDU has bid to bring the largest off-road racing

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event to lifeless former mining town.

Selebi-Phikwe resembles a ghost town since the closure of the BCL copper and nickel mine last year. The town’s leadership is said to be desperate to revive Selebi-Phikwe through sports tourism.

“Critical stakeholders in the SPEDU region plan to expand the region’s sport tourism portfolio by adding to it the Toyota 1000km Desert Race, which holds the record of being Botswana’s biggest sporting and social event of the year,” SPEDU chief executive officer, Mokubung Mokubung said at the Orange Phikwe marathon dinner in August. 

Selebi-Phikwe is currently the venue for Orange Phikwe Marathon and the Selebi-Phikwe Softball Extravangaza.

Mantshwabisi, as the locals call the event, holds the third and fourth rounds of the Motor South Africa off-road championships and the BMS national off-road championship third round.

The event is one of the races used to qualify for the prestigious Dakar Rally.

 In 2019, it will be held in the country for the 38th time since 1981 and has seen spectatorship rise over the years, making it one of the biggest motorsport events in Southern Africa. 

Previously, the race was held at Mantshwabisi village, Kumakwane and then recently Jwaneng.  Gantsi is also being considered for next year’s event.



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