With the year 2021 mostly characterised by the suspension of sporting activities, the sporting fraternity still managed to record some of the moments worth talking about. In this year-end review, Mmegi reporters CALISTUS KOLANTSHO and KABELO BORANABI, take a glance at some of the moments that characterised Botswana sport
Branch’s maiden World
Championship round winHe has been a man of many firsts over the past years. This year, Ross Branch added yet another first, as he won the first round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. In his championship debut, the biker won the Kazakhstan Rally, which formed the first round of the championship. The 35-year-old managed to get into history books and become the first Motswana to achieve that feat, also becoming the first rider from the southern part of Africa to win a World Championship round.
Galaxy Stars shoot
into CAF group stagesJust a year after clinching their maiden league championship, Jwaneng Galaxy this year advanced to the group stages of the CAF Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. They became the second local team to achieve the feat after Township Rollers did so in 2018. Galaxy shocked Tanzanian giants and continental powerhouse, Simba SC with a 3-1 win in a game played in Tanzania. The Galaxy Stars had lost 2-0 in Gaborone but dug deep into their reserves to reach the tournament’s group stages. The team will learn about their opponents on December 28, 2021, in a draw to be held in Cairo, Egypt.
became 43rd BNSC memberAfter a three-year wait, the Botswana Cheerleading Federation (BCF) in February attained a full Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) affiliation.
BCF had submitted a formal request to affiliate with the BNSC in 2018 but had to wait three years. In their seventh years of existence, the newest sporting body becomes the 43rd member of the commission, with BCF having been in exist ence for seven years.
BCF attained International Cheer Union (ICU) recognition in 2018.
The federation is now preparing to make an international bow at the 2022 ICU World Championships to be held in Florida, the US in April.
Elite league returned
After a 19-month hiatus, elite football rolled for the first time in October since March 2020. The club football competitions had been stopped after the outbreak of COVID-19 and a decision was taken to crown Jwaneng Galaxy as the champions of the 2019-2020 football season with 10 games to play. The 2020-2021 season was deemed null and void and football fans had to wait until this October to catch a glimpse of their favourite teams. The opening weekend featured a potential crowd-pulling Township Rollers and Extension Gunners tie and there has been excitement since, as Gaborone United faithful end the year with their tails held high due to the team’s resurgence in form in the current campaign.
Boseja wins Champions League
The Mares’ goalkeeper, Sedilame Boseja made it into history books, as she becomes the first local player to bag a Champions League winner’s medal. The 24-year-old, however, played no part as her side, Mamelodi Sundowns were crowned champions with a 2-0 over Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies in a match played in November. The goalkeeper remains sidelined with an injury and is expected to return to full fitness in February 2022.
Botswana debuted in super-cycle racing
In August, the first Motswana, born in Tlokweng, Temogo Pilane tasted the supercycle racing track. He became the first local rider to venture into the discipline, as the enduro, off-road and motocross have been the most popular on local shores. Pilane made his debut in the Red Star Raceway (RSR) club championship before making an FIM accredited race in the World Of Motorsport South Africa (WOMZA) third round held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa just a month later. Pilane ended the season as the Beginner600 winner of the RSR championship.
Ping-pong opened doors for international talents
The Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) hosted a regional tournament earlier this month. The tournament was the association’s first to host international players in a major tournament. With an P8,000 winners’ prize, the tournament attracted players from the countries in the southern part of Africa. Local duo, Bakang Maloka and Tshepiso Rebatenne kept the local flag high as they emerged victors in the senior men and women categories respectively.
PASSOBO makes its mark
Who would forget the Paralympic Association of Botswana (PASSOBO) team performance at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan. For the first time, Botswana had qualified two athletes, Edwin Masuge (400m T13) and Gloria Majaga (400M T13). PASSOBO also had a strong team at the AUSC Region 5 Games. The team brought three gold, five silver and three bronze medals.
Tennis players make strides in Africa
The code also had a brilliant run this year, winning Africa Junior Championships through Denzel Seetso and Mark Nawa. Other players such as Ekua Youri, Chelsea Chakanyuka and Naledi Raguin went from having no ITF rankings to being included in the list.
Boxing disappoints at Olympics
Boxing had a poor showing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Keamogetse Kenosi and Rajab Otukile Mahommed failed to make it through the second stage of the competition.
Weightlifting: Moyengwa makes historyMagdelene Moyengwa made history when she became the first weightlifter to qualify for Olympics. However, the stage was set too high for the debutant and she faltered in the first hurdle. She would later make headlines upon return from the games when she announced that she was taking a break from the sport. A move that sparked debate in various quarters.
Volleyball leadership faces criticism
Botswana Volleyball Federation was expected to have an elective congress towards the end of the year. But that did not happen. The elections have been moved to January. Some of the clubs have accused the volleyball leadership of not engaging club chairpersons when they make decisions.
The struggle continues for BONA
The code was marred by controversy when the outcome of the elections was challenged and the matter was brought to the attention of the Botswana National Sport Commission. It was revealed that TAFIC Sporting Club did not exist at the Registrar of Societies. Botswana Netball Association (BONA) also had to deal with the resignation of the treasurer. Despite all the challenges that BONA went through, they sent the senior teams to the Africa Netball Cup in Namibia. The junior side competed at the AUSC Region V Games and recorded disappointing results.
Tshenyego retains BNOC presidency
Colonel Botsang Tshenyego continued his tenure at the helm of the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) board. Ookeditse Malesu and Tirelo Mukokomani were challenging for the same position. Tshepo Sitale was elected senior vice-president, Mthandazo Michael Moroka first vice-president and Boineelo Hardy second vice-president. Yarona Sharp, Tebo Segaise and Unaswi Matebu were also voted into the BNOC board. After the election results were announced, Malesu revealed that he was done contesting for positions.
Serufho appointed BNSC CEO
Tuelo Serufho was appointed the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) CEO. Serufho was appointed as the caretaker CEO in 2020 and the appointment was expected to have lasted six months. The position had attracted many candidates but it was Serufho who was struck by lady luck. The CEO has a lot of issues that he has to deal with including the restructuring process. The merger of BNSC and BNOC (Botswana National Olympic Committee) is also an issue that Serufho has to deal with. He faced opposition from some National Sport Associations (NSA) on the establishment of a new umbrella sport body, which would replace the BNSC. Under a new structure titled the ‘Apex body for Botswana sport’, all bodies will come under one umbrella. The proposed structure would have both the BNSC and BNOC in existence, albeit with significantly revised roles, with BNSC being the Apex sport body for Botswana. The current BNOC will transform to Botswana National Olympic and Paralympic Committee (BNOPC) and all NSAs will affiliate to it. BNSC will focus on providing strategic direction and regulation of sport as opposed to implementation.