Botswana fails to utilise home ground

Botswana fails to utilise home ground PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG
Botswana fails to utilise home ground PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG

Team Botswana  failed to take full advantage of home ground at the  2019 Africa Karate Championship (UFAK) being held at the University of Botswana (UB) Indoor Sports Arena in Gaborone.

At press time, the hosts had two silver and eight bronze medals. Ofentse Bakwadi who went into the championship as a favourite to win a gold medal, settled for bronze as an individual and with team kata. He told Mmegi Sport that the competition was tough especially from Arab countries such as Algeria, Egypt and Morocco because they came prepared. 

“They attend K1 tournaments in Europe which is something that we hardly do. That is what made the difference between them and us. They attend training camps in Europe and we lack such exposure. If we can get such exposure we could stand up to them,” he said.  

In 2017 when Cameroon hosted the competition, we brought two gold medals, two silver and some bronze. He added that last year in Rwanda they won silver and bronze medals. 

“It is embarrassing that we are hosting and we settled for bronze. We should have done better. Individually, I expected to have done better. My pool was tough because I was up against Morocco and Algeria. If I was in a pool that had Egypt and South Africa, maybe I could have gone to the final,” he added. 

Bakwadi said as they now prepare for the African Games, the team should be handled by a foreign coach.

Another medal contender, Thato Malunga was knocked out in the first round. She complained that she was not given enough preparation, as more time went to logistics and not the team.

“From theRegion 5 Games, we came straight to UFAK without having friendly matches with other countries. My first opponent was against Morocco and they will be hosting the African Games. I did not have enough game time because in 2017, I was not feeling well and stayed away from karate and last year I was not available,” she said.  

Another challenge that Malunga faced was that she was making her debut in the Under-61kg category. She said with the experience and technique that she has, the only thing that lacked was game time.

The leading top countries are Morocco with 11 gold medals followed by Egypt and Cameroon. 

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