A the Mascom Volleyball League starts to heat up, week four league fixtures present a bumper for volleyball enthusiasts who will be spoiled for choice with various crunch matches taking center stage in Lobatse, Orapa and Jwaneng on Saturday. With a total of eight men’s matches and one game in the women’s category, it will be all to play for, especially on the men’s side where table toppers Kutlwano meet their traditional rivals and defending champions BDF VI, who are on second positions via set difference. This top of the table clash has the potential to dent ambitions, aspirations and pride as the fight for league championship intensifies. Both teams have played four games so far, winning all of them with BDF VI conceding one set while their rivals have won all in straight sets.
The soldiers have not tasted defeat all season last year and it remains to be seen if they can continue on their impressive streak and pile more pressure on their rivals. A win for the army side will take them to the top of the table, a morale booster that could work in their favour as they still have to face other tough challengers in Police VI and Francistown army side Diphatsa. All the four teams are yet to lose a match, with the cops and Diphatsa having played three games apiece. The Kutlwano-BDF VI clash in Lobatse is thus expected to be a psychological warfare with both sides boasting experienced players who have international volleyball experience.
The icing on the cake for this encounter stems from the defending champions BDF VI mainly using star players who the previous season played for Kutlwano. Setter Chiapo Madeluka and attackers Thatayaone Serema ,Kabo Moetse and Loatile Tiro all were influential in Kutlwano’s fruitful year of 2011, but have since gone on to help BDF VI win the 2012 league and Capital Motors cup. Kutlwano’s seasoned Centre Blocker Peaceful Seleka has however declared war on their rivals, admitting that the loss of their colleagues last year did affect their rhythm, which they have worked hard to regain. They will rely on their galaxy of stars among which are Shadrack Kapeko, Center Blocker Libion Machae and their Setter Meshack Motambira. BDF VI’s coach Selebatso Mabutho has on the other hand admitted that despite winning their first four games, theirs has not been a convincing display. He has even suggested that if they do not correct their mistakes, they could face stern tests especially from teams fighting for honours at the top.
In the women’s only fixture of the weekend, title challengers Kalavango will take on rising stars Dynamites in a duel that has always been dominated by Kalavango only through the end result. Although the Dynamites have lately struggled to beat their rivals, games between the two have never been easy, with Kalavango often losing a set or two to the women league’s youngest outfit. The teams meet after having started the league on a high, and one of them will taste defeat for the first time this season. Kalavango have won all their four matches, while Dynamites, who have played only two games so far, won one game in straight sets while the second game they were on the verge of also winning 3-1 was abandoned after their opponents, BDF VI, had pleaded that the game be stopped as they said they could not see.
Both teams’ captains have promised a go at each other. Monica Alfred of Kalavango, formerly a Dynamites player herself, said her team was laden with overwhelming experience that should see them easily cruise against their opponents. Merapelo Mathumo of Dynamites on the other hand said the encounter presents them with a perfect opportunity to send a strong message to their rivals that this season they mean business as they want to penetrate the top three bracket. The game starts at 8am, and will be followed by the men’s games between Kalavango and Victory Seekers; Seekers versus Prisons and finally the Kutlwano-BDF VI clash. In Orapa, the home team will play two games against Mag Stimela and Police VI, while Jwaneng will host two games where Itekeng will take on Mafolofolo and Spiking Stars.