Thamaga hosts whopping charity tourney

Radio Botswana sports presenter, Tiro 'Tyro' Lepotokisi, and his counterpart at Yarona FM, MacDonald 'Chillyboy' Rakgare, are not in sports by default.

They believe that sports can be used to change lives and bring smiles to the faces of the poor even if they are not followers.

In 2007, the two were disappointed after their sponsor pulled out at the last minute causing the cancellation of the tournament which they started in 2006 to help the needy in Thamaga. But you cannot keep a good man down.

The two have revived their brainchild and it has grown in leaps and bounds from a mere P3, 200 that was raised when the tournament started three years ago, to P15, 000 raised as gate takings during the latest edition of the games which were played between Christmas and December 28. The event attracted over P45, 000 sponsorship from companies and individuals.

The Chinese Embassy, which continues to support development of football in this country, has sponsored them to the tune of P9, 000 followed by Kagiso Mmusi, the owner of Pula Holdings, who popped out P7, 000 while Pro Guard Security parted with P6, 500 to support the initiative. The Glazing Botswana Group of Companies sponsored with P6, 000 with Capital Motors giving P3, 000 towards the soccer spectacular while Water Surveys gave out P2, 500. Be Still Hospitality, Ernest Molome, Archien PTY/ LTD and Township Rollers Managing Director, Somerset Gobuiwang, all made a P1, 000 donation towards the tournament. Thabo Osekeng and Fobby Radipotsane contributed P500 each.

The tournament took good planning to organise. It does not happen every day that a sports personality such as former national team coach, Jelusic Vaselin should attend a soccer tournament in a remote village like Thamaga. It must have taken a lot of hard work to make the event attractive to him.

Getting the minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Gladys Kokorwe giving a speech at a prize giving ceremony just added the cherry on top, not to mention those prizes awarded by soccer celebrities such as Noah Maposa, Mpho Mabogo, Khumo Motlhabane as well as Mmoni 'States' Segopolo. Killer Giants of Ramotswa and Kgabosetso Southern Callies both First Division South teams and plus four locals, Senyane Celtics, Thamaga Shooting Stars (TSS), Thamaga Swallows and Thamaga Blue Aces took part.

Many would have predicted that both Kgabosetso and Killer Giants would be in the final, but it was TSS whose character and never-say -die attitude left many in awe as they clinched the floating trophy and the P 6,000 first prize money. Kgabosetso registered a second win against Killer Giants in a period of two months when they edged them out through a 1-0 win, booking a date with TSS who had eliminated Celtics in the other semi-final, beating them 2-0. Not only did they win as a team, individual brilliance from youngsters such as Kabelo Ramasu, Motlhanka Katse, and Charles Seele made them especially tricky for all their opponents. Goals from Ramasu and Seele in each half won the day for TSS and left Botshelo Pelokgosi and his boys sour as the youngsters won 2-1 to keep it at home. Ramasu shared top goal scorer with Donald Mopako of Killer Giants and Seele who scored three times during the games. Otlaadisa Medupe snatched the 'Most Promising Player' award.

Lepotokisi said of the tournament, "the sponsors were impressed with everything so much that a few of them have already shown interest to be part of next year's event. We were also happy with the support we got from people from Ramotswa and Moshupa whose teams were taking part. We are still to give all sponsors feedback but already things look promising".

He said that they would be working with the District Social and Community Development officers to help identify the needy persons who will benefit from the money raised. A day before new year, they bought some food hampers and presents for patients at the Thamaga Primary Hospital. Kokorwe said at the end of the event that it was good youngsters like Lepotokisi and Rakgare were helping government in developing football.

"Government alone cannot succeed. It is through efforts such as these that many dreams can be realised. I cannot express my happiness at the success of such a tournament because it does not only bring people together but it also helps expose the talent that we have," Kokorwe said. (Mmegi)

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