Saturday, December 9, 2023

Botswana’s right to host chess tourney hangs in the balance

Botswana could lose its right to host the Africa Zone 4.3 Chess Championships under the auspices of the African Chess Confederation. 

The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) is alleged to be running against time to convince relevant authorities of their readiness to host the prestigious tournament. 

The BCF declined to disclose matters arising in the predicament to host the tournament, narrating that they were still engaged in negotiations ahead of the championships that were schedule for Gaborone.

The individual championship tournament was scheduled for Gaborone. Botswana is slated for April 8 to 17 in the African chess zonal calendar. 

Close sources told The Telegraph that despite a few weeks ahead of the tournament, possibilities were high that the championship venue could be changed.

‘’Botswana might not host the tournament as it is not yet finalised yet. The BCF is under pressure and currently negotiating with the relevant bodies to understand their position and benefits of hosting the championship. The final decision will be announced later this week after addressing the matter all other relevant stakeholders,” a source told The Telegraph.

Reached for comment, BCF spokesperson Keenese Katisenge did not shed much light on the hosting issue, rather preferring to talk about Team Botswana’s preparations.

 “The logistics of the zonal event may, however, change in terms of date and host country. We are still finalising the details. We will communicate after finalising,” the spokesperson could only say. 

However, concerning Team Botswana, an upbeat Katisenge revealed that preparations were going well and there was expectation it would win medals.

“In terms of performance we have good expectations. We believe that should both teams represent us with the players who have qualified; we will win a good number of medals,” said Katisenge

The optimism, according to Katisenge, stems from the quality and calibre of players making the squad. 

The team is made up of seasoned players who made the cut after the second round of the Metropolitan qualifiers, which were used to select players to represent the country next month.

Among the players expected to represent the country in the women category are the likes of Women International Master (WIM) Botlhole Kgalalelo, WIM Francis Onkemetse and experienced WIM Boikhutso Mudongo. 

The men’s team is well sharpened with the likes of on-form International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse, Candidate Master (CM) Barileng Gaelashwe and CM Tebogo Pitlagano. 

The rest of the players making the ladies team will be WIM Tshepiso Lopang, Ndachipiwa Kgomotso, Susan Sethebe and WCM Koziba Mokhunzeni while Gomolemo Rongwane, Moakofi Notha, CM Thuso Mosutha and Puso Mabetu will complete the men’s team.

According to BCF, the selection criterion was based on the rating standing after the second round qualifiers of the Metropolitan Chess Championships, with only top seven players in both men and women categories qualifying for the national team call-up.


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