The wait goes on…

Baitshepi Sekgweng
MISSING ACTION: BW Women's national team

Senior national volleyball teams miss out again

Last tasted competitive action in January 2019

Not for the first time, shallow pockets are proving to be Botswana Volleyball’s biggest opponent.

A lack of Pula power means the country will not take part at next month’s Zone VI Indoors Senior Nations Championships in Zimbabwe – an initiative Botswana came up with!

Set for Harare from 22nd September to 1st October, the first-of-its-kind tournament is expected to attract all the Southern African countries – all except one!

The event was to end four-and-a-half-years of inactivity for Botswana’s senior national teams, who last tasted international action way back in January 2019 at the African Olympic qualifiers.

The idea of a Nations Cup was put forward by the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) during a congress in Mozambique earlier this year.

The notion was readily endorsed.

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Now, however, Botswana will miss out on its brainchild, with BVF Vice President Administration, Ndibo Lebala admitting financial handcuffs were to blame.

“We planned to use a bus for travel since it is a cheaper mode of transport. Even then, we would have needed around P1.2 million to send a men’s and women’s team; it’s money we just don’t have! Even to send one team would have cost in the region of P500, 000,” exclaimed an exacerbated Lebala in an exclusive interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday morning.

BVF were allocated P750, 000 for the 2023/24 financial year as their BNSC grant, money that registered in their account last month.

40 percent (P300, 000) is set aside for development while administration and competitions get P225, 000 each – almost a million less than what was required for the Zim competition.

The VPA further admitted a lack of domestic activity was also proving problematic.

Without a national league since 2018 when Mascom pulled the plug, local volleyball action has been limited to cup competitions, the last of which was the Liquid Intelligent Open back in December.

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“Our expectation was that by now we will be playing locally but we are yet to play,” said Lebala, adding this lack of competitive game time was taking its toll on the sport.

“We have realised teams have grown and improved in our absence from competitive action. We have missed even the African Nations Cup which is currently on going in Cameroon because where we are, we don’t have money to fund them; it’s been long without participating there! We will have to build from scratch. At least we expect two [Local] tournaments by the end of the year despite the absence of the league, it will be much better,” concluded Lebala, speaking to Voice Sport from Oliver Tambo International Airport, waiting to catch a plan to Morocco to join the U/21s.

In a rare spike of good news for the sport, the federation were able to send a two-man team, Trevor Manduwa and Mosiiwa Baleofi, to North Africa for the U/21 Africa Beach Volleyball Cup, which starts in Casablanca on Friday (25 August).

Sadly though, senior team duo, George Chiswaniso and Jack Sekao’s dream of competing at the World Beach Volleyball Championships in Mexico this October is over. Due to inactivity, the pair’s points have expired, meaning they no longer qualify for the tournament. It marks the latest devastating blow to a sport already on its knees

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