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Local Teams Finalise Squads Ahead Of New Season

Tshepo Motlhabankwe PIC: FILE
With the Botswana Football Association (BFA) working on a strategy to start the football season next month, local sides have wrapped up their transfer activity with quite a few surprises.

The transfer window officially closed on Friday paving way for the highly-anticipated start of the new season. The transfer activity pulled up few surprises, amongst them the release of Mpoeleng Mpoeleng from Notwane as well as the return of Tshepo Motlhabankwe to Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

The BFA has promised that it is doing all to ensure that football action returns next month, spurring local sides to leave no stone unturned as far as preparations are concerned. Despite the well-known financial challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Debswana First Division and Premiership sides have revitalised their squads.

As usual big guns, Township Rollers and Gaborone United (GU) were some of the busiest clubs in the just-ended transfer window. Rollers have already lost midfielder, Mothusi Cooper to Zambia as well as striker, Tumisang Orebonye and defender, Simisane Mathumo to Morocco respectively.

Rollers then went onto release Mooketsi Gareonne, Bogosi Mfila, Kaone van der Westhuizen, Tiroyaone Maome, Galagwe Moyana, Brian Botsang, Arnold Mampori and Kabo Ntswaneng. Van der Westhuizen and Botsang have since joined Notwane while Galagwe Moyana reunited with former coach, Mogomotsi Mpote at Orapa United. Botsang had joined Rollers last season from Notwane but could not break into the team.

He has reportedly signed a one-year deal at Toronto. Rollers have also loaned out Mmoloki Kebalepile and Thabang Khuduga to Notwane while Percy More has joined Extension Gunners on loan.

More spent the whole of last season at Prisons XI on loan. Rollers have bolstered their squad with striker, Mitchelle Katsvairo who is expected to fill the void left by Orebonye.

The Zimbabwean striker was previously linked with a move to Rollers few seasons ago, but decided to move to Tanzania instead. Rollers have also brought in midfielder, Kutlwelo Mpolokang from Jwaneng Galaxy as well Brian Mankanku, Thapelo Motlhanka, Goran Obradovic, Thapelo Legae (Under-20), Gareth Kemp (Under-20), Thabo Bakwena (Under-20) and Thapelo Balatlheng (Under-20).

Rollers are looking to revive their fortunes, especially after the return of coach, Nikola Kavazovic. Meanwhile, GU completed three

signings on deadline day with Gape Thibedi joining from Orapa United, Cedric Ramojela from Molepolole City and Thabiso Fani from their development side.

GU had already signed Karabo Phiri, Sadiki Takunda, Thatayaone Ramatlapeng and Mothusi Johnson. The Reds have been playing a couple of friendly matches as Pontsho Moloi hopes to carry on from where they left last season. Before the season was abruptly ended due to COVID-19, GU were amongst some of the teams that were flying up the Premiership log. Notwane have released a total of 13 players as they prepare for the coming season with long-serving defender, Mpoeleng Mpoeleng amongst a few surprise moves.

The long-serving defender joined the likes of Lungisani Fanyani and Langa Mabuli on the departure list, paving way for the likes of van der Westhuizen and Kebalepile. After accepting their fate that they will be playing in the lower division this coming season, TAFIC have released 11 players amongst them Gobonyeone Selefa, Samuel Phiri as well as Bokamoso Mbambo.

Mochudi Centre Chiefs have also been busy following the appointment of a new executive committee, which has made it clear that returning to the Premiership is a top priority. Magosi has bolstered their squad with Motlhabankwe brothers, Tshepo and Bobby as well as Mbambo who was released by TAFIC. The club had reportedly shown interest in bringing back Dirang Moloi, but the exciting midfielder has opted to remain at Gunners for the next season.

Orapa United have welcomed back Lesenya Ramoraka who replaces Mothusi Johnson at left back. Johnson has joined GU.

Moyana will also add depth on the left wing while the likes of Kobamelo Kebaikanye and Baboloki Makhura have left. Kebaikanye has since joined new Premiership comers, Masitaoka. Extension Gunners supporters will be relieved to learn that Dirang Moloi will still be playing for them this coming season.

Gunners have also signed Lesego Lubinda and Kabo Rasuping. The likes of Ayanda Molefe, Tshepo Borake and Olekantse Mambo have left, Mambo has reportedly joined Holy Ghost.


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