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Table tennis breaks four-year international hiatus

KABELO BORANABI
Blue Nation: The table tennis team resplendent in their new kit from Stag PIC:KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The national table tennis team will compete outside the country for the first time in four years.

They travel to Lesotho for the AUSC Region V Games next week. Botswana last competed in an international tournament in 2015 when Namibia hosted the AUSC Region V games.

The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) failed to send a team to the Africa Games held in Morocco earlier this year.

Speaking to Mmegi Sport, coach Welcome Tema said despite the lengthy absence on the international scene, the team was upbeat. 

Tema said he has been impressed with technical and tactical response from the players despite worries of lack of international exposure.

“We have been preparing since November 4, but only got in to full time training on November 23. At first, we were worried about the fitness level of the players because some of them do not train regularly at their clubs, but so far I believe it is up to the standards we want it to be.”

“I am really impressed with how the players are responding.

In modern table tennis, we have to use power play. So we have been working on the speed because if you are slow, you give your opponents a chance to attack.  At the moment, I believe we have reached the levels we want, we can match international players especially those from South Africa, whom we see as

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our main threat,” Tema said.  Botswana is sending an 11-member group including the para team to the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, for the tournament that runs between December 9 and 11 in Maseru.

The men’s team consists of top ranked player, Tshenolo Mooketsi and former number one Thobo Matlhatsi both from BDF table tennis club while Tshepiso Rebatenne and Boitshwarelo Butale are included in the women’s team.

Onnetse Isiah will be out to defend her title in Para table tennis.

The team leaves on Monday and is expected back home on December 12.  Team Botswana will be dressed by the international multi sports brand, Stag International. This is part of a four-year deal between BTTA and Stag.

The home kit is a blue top with black sleeves and black shorts while the away kit is a black shirt with blue sleeves and black shorts.

Meanwhile, BTTA in conjunction Botswana National Sport Commission, launched the first ever concrete playing tables in Maun last weekend. This is part of BTTA’s drive to target out of school youths in rural areas.

The travelling squad to Lesotho

Men: Bakang Maloka, Thobo Matlhatsi, Tshenolo Mooketsi, Mompati Chabe

Women: Tshepiso Rebatenne, Boitshwarelo Butale, Olorato Ramagapu, Oratile Kedisaletse

 

Para Team

Men: Lefika Mahudiri, Quett Tshimane

Woman: Onnetse Isiah

Coaches: Welcome Tema,

Kennete Santudu, Godiraone Bagwasi

(Para Team)



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