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Ping-pong players fight for national team spots

KABELO BORANABI
Top ranked: Mooketsi would be one to look out for PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Battle for the national team spots will begin this weekend in round one of the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) selections to be held at the BNYC Hall.

The tournament is part of BTTA’s preparations for the World Table Tennis Championships to be played in July. Four places are up for grabs in each of the men and women’s categories.

Speaking to Mmegi Sport on Thursday, BTTA president, Kudzanani Motswagole said the association has scrapped hand-picking for the national team as players have to prove themselves on the table.  “The issue of coaches hand-picking players is a thing of the past. Players have to get into the nationals via performances. This is a national team we are talking about, so we need the best players. The best will have more wins hence we are having these selection tournaments, it will start with the round one on the weekend,” Motswagole said.

 “We will select eight players over the weekend, two of the best in each category will take part in the last 16.

From the last 16, we will select another two who will make a team of four players in each category; those are the players who

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will form a team for the world championships. We expect this to be a very tight contest, the gap is not high in Botswana so anyone can squeeze in to the team.”

 The men’s top ranked player, Tshenolo Mooketsi is expected to be at the forefront of proceedings over the weekend. He has been in fine form with his latest triumph coming last weekend at the BTTA War on the Table round one tournament.

He faces stern competition from club teammate, Thobo Matlhatsi, second Boago Malobela, while Masa Lesole cannot be ruled out. The women’s table has been a possession for Tshepiso Rebatenne and Boitshwarelo Butale.

The duo has been dominating the local scene for years now and is once again expected to sail through. Oratile Kedisaletse and Olorato Ramagapu would be keen to break the dominance as they currently sit third and fourth in the rankings. The second and third rounds of the national team selection will be held on February 29 and March 15.



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