Wednesday, July 28, 2021

2008 not that bad for Botswana sports

Football

After the senior national team, the Zebras, heavily disappointed by failing to advance to the final phase of the 2010/Africa Cup of Nations group stages, there appeared little to cheer or expect.
However, the national Under 20 offered something to smile about as they made history. They became the first ever local team to reach the last game before the African championships. It is something Batswana should be proud of and also says something about the future national team.

Last year, it was the national Under 23 which also made history by qualifying for the first time for the group stages of the Olympics and the All African Games. Botswana was knocked out in the last game before the All Africa Games by the same South Africa that also eliminated the national Under 20.
Surprisingly, after the team failed to qualify, the head coach, Oris Radipotsane, was given the boot instead of letting him graduate the team to the Under 23.

The Under 20s have so far produced many players some of whom are making strides in the Premier League.

Football this season also received a pat on the back following drastic increased sponsorship for the Premier League and the Coca Cola Cup. The first prize money for the Premier League is going to P1 million compared to last season’s paltry P120 000. The first prize for Coca Cola Cup has also shot to half a million from P140 000.

The two big sponsorships, however, came on board following the controversial Munhumutapa deal spearheaded by Zimbabwean, Oscar Kubara.
Kubara promised to Sponsor the Premier League with an incredible amount of P65 million for a period of three seasons. The Premier League ended up calling off the deal after Kubara failed to bring the money on time but kept on saying it was coming. Even to date, he is still saying the same old story.

Feuding at the Botswana Football Association also did not go unnoticed prior to the General Assembly. At the Assembly, the then President, Philip Makgalemele, was voted out. That, however, served as a blessing in disguise as he went on to win the Primary elections for the Shoshong constituency.
The sacking of the national team coach, Colwyn Rowe also attracted a lot of attention, especially from England, his home country. The man was always at war with the media accusing it of being negative. His outbursts also did not go down well with most soccer fans who were always baying for his blood. He normally fought back saying the media fermented the situation.

Athletics

This year was once again athletics year as they, once again, managed to make Botswana proud at the Olympics.

Amantle Montsho became the first female runner from Botswana to reach the 800 m finals. It was for the third consecutive time Botswana athletes qualified for the Olympics.

It all started at the 2000 Olympics when 800m runner, Glody Dube, made it. Four years down the line, the 400 by 400 relay also qualified but, unfortunately, they were still out muscled. Locally, there hasn’t been much about athletics and their voice has not been heard much. Since Ipolokeng Ranmatshaba was voted out of office two years ago, there has not been much correspondence about athletics competitions.

Boxing

In boxing, Khumiso Ikgopoleng, was one of the boxers who made this country proud by doing well at the Olympics. He missed the medals stage by a whisker after doing well in the preliminaries. Before bowing out, he won two fights something that has never been done by a local boxer at the Olympics. Most local boxers in the past were knocked out in the preliminary stages.

Chess

Chess players also recently did well at the recently held Olympiad games in Germany. It was some of the code’s achievements in many years.

Volleyball

Botswana has since proven that it is a force to reckon with regionally. Recently local clubs did well at the Zone VI Club Championships. This was despite the fact that there is still no volleyball league in the country but only tournaments that were not held regularly.

On the other hand, other codes were not that active on the international calendar but only locally where there were some tournaments.

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