Rugby team in fight for Rio 2016 berth

Rugby Sevens have not been played at the Olympic Games since 1924, but next year at the Rio Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee found it fit to introduce the code again.

Botswana is not left behind and in their quest to be one of the countries to make history and participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Botswana Rugby men’s 7’s national team left for Johannesburg yesterday to compete in the 2015 Africa Olympic qualifier 7’s tournament to be played on November 15-16.

Botswana is in Pool C together with Tunisia, Morocco and Namibia, Pool A is made up of Madagascar, Senegal and Mauritius, Pool B is Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria.

However, the assistant coach, Sean Irish told BOPA before departure that his team prepared well for the tournament, adding that what was a positive development was the fact that the squad was injury free.

“We are travelling a mix of team, some have lot of experience while others have little experience so it will be a learning curve for the young guys, but our intention is to qualify for Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” he said.

The assistant coach said in Pool C they are pitted with two northern Africa strong teams, which he said traditionally they are big and fast, adding from a defensive perspective, they have done a lot of work, in ensuring that they will make a lot of good low tackles.

Irish further said they have also prepared their speed techniques, so that they can match their opponents with pace, during the competition.

He admitted that their biggest and toughest opposition in their pool is Namibia, given that they are an experienced team, and they have a lot of players who participated in the just ended World Cup.

He however said Batswana should expect a good performance from their team, adding that their aim is to do very well and ultimately qualify for the Olympic Games.

The teams hooker Dent Patrick said morale in camp, was high and all the players are looking forward for the competition.

He said as players their intention is to make their country proud, he said they are very confident because preparation has been going well, and they have been training very hard.

Patrick further said they have never played with their opposition, but they have watched them play on video therefore they are in a good position to handle them.

“These are qualifiers for Olympics, and we want to qualifying for our country, but as players our intention is to make an indelible mark,” he said. Meanwhile only the tournament winner will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics while the teams ranked two, three and four will be qualified for the repecharge tournament to be played in 2016.

Botswana team comprises of Ketshedile Matenang, Omphile Debula, Ernest Eddy Lesedi Cherry, Alpheous Mokotedi Kaelo Mogotsi, Jeremy Dobrowsky,Kagiso Molefhi, James Shamwaka, Emmanuel Ntshiwa, Koorapetse Lesotlho and Dent Patrick.