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Sevens team chases 2020 Olympic dream

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
The men’s 7s team is in South Africa for the Africa Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers, to be played today and tomorrow at Johannesburg’s Bosman Stadium. 

Botswana joins 14 countries in the qualifiers, with only one spot up for grabs, as South Africa has already taken the other slot.

Other competing countries are Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory

Coast, Uganda, Mauritius, Zambia, Ghana, Tunisia, Namibia, Senegal and Morocco.

Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) has sent a strong 12-member team, which has been in camp in Rustenburg ahead of the qualifiers.

However, there are two notable omissions in the team as Jwaneng players, Tefo Ramoraka and Alpheous Mokotedi were left out. 

Coach, Andrew Paxinos said the players’ location made it difficult for them to travel, while Mokotedi has work commitments.

The two omitted players are experienced, young and have a great season. Overall, the team had enough time to prepare for the qualifiers.

Other notable exclusions are Kitso Matija and Kaelo Mogotsi, who analysts say, did not play enough this season to deserve a call-up.

Paxinos said they have added six new players and intend to go out and give

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their all. He also said they expect a tough challenge during the qualifiers, but they have prepared well, and had sufficient time to tune-up.

“Our first match is against Madagascar. They are ranked position four and they are a strong team. The players are short in stature but they are fit and very fast. We are going to go physical against them and see how that works out,” he said.

South Africa has automatically qualified for the Olympics. The winner this weekend would be joining them.

 

The team: Matija, Letlhogile Tsheko, Masego Moalosi, Ishmael Pelaelo, Thabang Diphera, Mpho Rramorweenyane, Tafadzwa Ncube, Mogotsi, Dent Patrick, Koketso Geletshetse, Tshoganetso Katse and Kagiso Molefhi. Batsile Kabo (assistant coach), Patrick Proctor (team medic) and Matthew Gibson (team manager).

 

 

Saturday fixtures

 

Madagascar     vs         Botswana

Zimbabwe       vs         Nigeria

Kenya vs         Ivory Coast, Uganda vs         Mauritius

Zambia            vs         Ghana

Tunisia             vs         Namibia,

Senegal            vs         Morocco



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