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Team Botswana upbeat

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 21 August 2019   |   By Baitshepi Sekgweng
Team Botswana upbeat

… Leaves for All Africa Games

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Team Botswana  is  optimistic  of   obtaining   positive  results  at the  two-week  12th edition of the  All Africa games  set  for Rabat, Morocco from August 19 -31, 2019. Botswana has sent a strong team of close to 103 athletes who will compete in 11 sporting   codes being tennis, athletics, karate, volleyball, cycling, boxing, taekwondo, chess, weightlifting, swimming and Judo.

Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC)  and  Botswana National Olympic  Committee (BNOC) have  been   busy  preparing for the   games after  government released   close to P18 million for  preparations.

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Though athletics has a very good record of bringing positive results at the games, a lot of changes are expected this year as most of the athletes are looking forward to prove their mettle amongst the best on the continent.

Karate is one of the codes which will be looking forward to dethrone athletics as evidenced by their recent performances on the international stage. The karate team is still oozing with   confidence after competing in the Africa Senior Cup, which was held in Gaborone last month. The team boosts of 21 karatekas, which means the prospects of bringing as many medals as possible is an achievable task. According to one of the team members, Ofentse Bakwadi, they are ready for the challenge.

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“We have been training locally and though we did not get any  international training  or  match we  are  ready to  bring  some good results  because  you can see  that the  team hasn’t  changed   that much. My plan is to reach the finals and fight for that gold,” said Bakwadi, who won bronze medal in the previous edition in Congo Brazzaville.

Botswana has sent only the ladies volleyball team which has been bedeviled by a string of poor results this year. The volleyball draw was conducted last week by Confederation of Africa Volleyball and Botswana managed to get a lucky draw after being drawn in Pool A alongside Morocco, Mauritius and Nigeria. However, the team has been dealt a heavy blow as the initial head coach Kabo Ntshinogang could not travel with the team due to work commitments. Isaac Samuel has since been roped in to lead the team to the tournament assisted by Makgetla Gareanna and Tshepo Molosiwa.

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This will be the third time that the team competes in the games having graced both    tournaments which were in Maputo and Brazzaville in 2011 and 2015. The team still has   players who played in those   previous games   in Gaoleseletse Gasekgonwe, Karabo Molefha and Chada Majaha   whose experience is very valuable in the squad. Despite   the recent poor performance   by the team, senior player Tracy Chaba-Disang says they have what it takes   to turn the tables around and perform better this time around.

“It has been hectic because we have been training hard more so that we only had two weeks to prepare intensively and had a lot to cover. And I will say so far so good since   we don’t have injuries so  far  and this  time round  we want  to  bring a  medal home. We  have   players who have been   to the games  before  and   we have   an new  coach who has made his own  changes  but I would not say that  will   affect us because   he  has  coached  as  before and    we are all  familiar    with  him. So  for him to be roped  in  at the eleventh  hour  won’t  affect us  that much, we have  what it takes to do well despite  what happened in the  past,” said  Chaba-Disang.

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After missing out on the 2015 edition chess returns to the games with a strong team of IM Providence Oatlhotse, FM Phemelo Khetho, WIM Onkemetse Francis and 14-year-old WCM Refilwe Gabatshwarwe.

“Talking about targets I’m looking forward to at least secure five points from the nine rounds we will play such that we get closer to the   podium positions. I have been   preparing very  well with my coach  such  that I get to  understand  my  game  plan. I might be the   youngest player in the   team but I’m not really intimidated because I have prepared quite well and I will compete to my level best,” said WCM Gabatswarwe.

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In the   last edition Botswana scooped   15 medals being   three gold, three silver and nine bronze.    



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