The organisers of the Botswana Table Tennis Association’s (BTTA) first ever Kanye Open revealed that only a trickle of players were registering for the exciting tournament to be played on Saturday at Seepapitso Senior Secondary School.
The tournament organiser, Rorisang Raesima told Mmegi Sport on Wednesday that although they had anticipated a large number of players, only 40 players had by Thursday registered for the tournament.
The competition brings to the table fierce rivals including the country’s number one ranked player, Bonolo Mabote of Smash Maniacs table tennis club and second-ranked Thobo Matlhatsi who have emerged as the favourites to clinch the title. Mabote has won every major tournament this year including the Top 8 Super Singles. He however faces stiff competition from Matlhatsi of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) club, who he crushed in the Top 8 Singles final.
Third-ranked Nnete Rantutu of Nhabe club is likely to challenge the duo for the honours as he will be looking to improve his rankings.
A fierce battle is expected in the women’ s category which has long time rivals, Tshepiso Rebatenne of Nhabe club and Matshidiso Osi of Smash Maniacs, who are ranked first and second respectively.
The duo have met numerous times in finals, with Osi coming top in most challenges, but facing a rejuvenated Rebatenne will not be a walk in the park. Rebatennne beat Osi in the finals of the Top 8 Super Singles earlier this year. “We were expecting 150 to 200 players and as of now only 40 have registered. We hope that before the registration period is over, we will have more players,” said Raesima.
BTTA competitions director, Kudzanani Motswagole was hopeful they might still meet their target as they usually register a high number of players on the last day.
He said the tournament will be used as part of the last lap of preparations for the All Africa Games (AAG) to be held next month in Congo-Brazzaville. “The national team that will take part in the upcoming AAG has been selected so this tournament will be part of their last preparations,” he said.
The winner of the senior singles will walk away with P1,000, second place will bag P600 while semi-finalists will walk away with P300 each in both the men and women sections.
In the doubles the champions will bag P700, second pair P500 semifinalists P200.
In the under 18 singles, the winners will walk away with hampers worth P1,000, P600 and P300 for the first, second and third places respectively. Sponsors of the tournament are JF Ramolala Transport, Sedibeng Lodge, Goraamotho PTY (LTD), Tsabomo Transport, AB Spares, Rate One Accounting and Brave Team.