Time to spike!

Baitshepi Sekgweng
READY TO HIT THE COURTS: Volleyball's back

Volleyball returns with cup competition

Following six months of inactivity, local volleyball players will finally get the chance to stretch their restless limbs in competitive action once again.

Backed by a P120, 000 cash injection from Liquid Intelligence Technologies, the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) have put together a cup tournament that starts this weekend and runs until 3 December.

The comp includes ten ladies teams and four men’s sides. Both U/20 national teams will also join the fun as they fine-tune their preparations ahead of the Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 games set for Malawi from 2 – 11 December.

With the sport at a standstill since April, when the ‘Return to Play’ tournie proved a false dawn, the cup comp represents a welcome return to action for the country’s undercooked athletes.

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In the women’s section, the draw has pitted: Police VI, BDF VI, Yaros Olympic Club, Mafolofolo and Mag-Stimela together in Pool A.

The weekend fixtures include a thrilling match-up between the cops and the soldiers, in a repeat of the ‘Return to Play’ semi-final. Police won out last time round and BDF will be hungry for revenge; either way, a titanic tussle is expected.

Speaking to Voice Sport through the week, Police Head Coach, Shimaka Ngwanaotsile admitted preparations had been far from ideal but stressed his girls were ready.

“We have been training but the problem is that I don’t have the whole of the team with me due to various commitments. We have been playing friendlies and those who are not available obviously didn’t benefit but the team will improve with the intensity of the games,” said Ngwanaotsile.

Pool B, meanwhile, features: Kutlwano, Spiking Stars, Dynamites, Kalavango, Sebokeng (formerly Diphatsa) and the U/20 Botswana girls.

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Having triumphed in the ‘Return to Play’ event, Kutlwano are the team to beat in this one.

Coach Shadrack Kapeko’s troops get their campaign underway against Kalavango, the team they defeated 3-0 in the semis on the way to April’s triumph.

Telling Voice Sport his players were rusty after months stuck on the sidelines, Kapeko said they would ‘double their efforts’ to get into shape.

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“Ever since April we haven’t been training we only started when an announcement for the tournament was made. However the team is still intact, we haven’t lost any team members except for one junior player.”

His opposite number on the Kalavango bench, Kabelo Marumo, revealed simply assembling a team would be a challenge on its own!

“We are not ready because putting players together is a challenge since they have found new interests and commitments. We have three players who have been training thus far and they are not impact players. The challenge is to put a team together, however we will honour the fixtures,” vowed Marumo.

Meanwhile, the men’s section will be played in round-robin format, consisting of: BDF VI, Police VI, Kutlwano, Mag-Stimela and the U/20 national team.

For the men’s and women’s quartet of: Police VI, BDF VI, Kutlwano and Mag-Stimela, the tournie also gives them some much needed match practice as they build towards next month’s Zone VI Championships in Zambia.

All four have until the end of the month to confirm whether they will take part in the regional competition.

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