The 2016 Mascom volleyball league silver medallists and 2017 Capital Motors reigning champions Kalavango Volleyball Club is currently in South Africa for a retreat. The 2017 league competition is yet to start after the sponsors Mascom wireless decided not to renew their contract with the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF). Vincent Travel Tours sponsored the cup winners trip to Durban’s to the tune of P30 000. The club has 30 athletes including both men and women in SA.
Kalavango has surprised the likes of Kutlwano and Mafolofolo to win the Capital Motors cup this year. Kalavango coach Isaac Thengelani used a blend of youth and experience at the annual cup competition. The ladies team won five individual awards at Capital Motors. Their successful campaign saw Boemo Bosaakae taking the best server, the veteran Monica Alfred winning best blocker while Kebabonye Phofedi went away with best libero award. The return of aging Unami Tupane, Monica Alfred strengthened the team further. While in Durban, KVC will play friendly games against University of Natal in both indoor and beach volleyball.
In the men section, Kabelo Marumo will lead his charges and challenge their minds to perform better and improve their positions. KVC ladies will represent the country at the zone 4 championships in Zimbabwe in December. The two parties have been in partnership for the past 5 years. KVC will send both men and women teams to the neighbouring South Africa. The tours director Vincent Mongati said, ”I do not measure success by how much wealth you amass but by value at which you transform people's life”.
KVC chairman Mmopi Chopdat Gaetshajwe said the trip will assist keep their players in shape physically and mentally. “The league is now dormant, this sends a clear message to athletes and coaches”, Gaetshajwe said.
Two of the biggest and most formidable volleyball teams in the domestic league Kutlwano and Kalavango, have offloaded the most number of players during the current 2017 Transfer window. Kutlwano, who are also Capital Motors Volleyball Cup defending champions, have parted ways with four players from the male side and one from the women’s side. A transfer window sheet from Botswana Volleyball Federation shows that Lebogang Mogote, Tirayaone Otimile, Bakang Mokoti, Emmanuel Moala and Boingotlo Ramososwane are no longer Kutlwano players.
Meanwhile three women and two men from Kalavango being Leungo Keipegetse, Keituletse Mpako, Refilwe Ncube, Patrick Tlale and Tshepaone Orapeleng have also left their popular team. According to Secretary General of Kutlwano Club, popularly known as the ‘Big House’ - Shadrack Kapeko, they decided to release some of their players who wanted out to allow them to seek better opportunities to grow in the game.
Kapeko said even though they have lost several players, they will continue as a team. “We have many more talented players within the team and there is high competition amongst our players which means some of them are not getting enough game time,” Kapeko said this week.
“It is actually good for the players because they will be able to showcase their talents elsewhere and enhance their performances because it is only through play that an athlete improves for the better without being overshadowed by some of the prominent players in the club,” he said.
Moreover, league new comers Yaros Olympic Club from Maun managed to sign six new players to their team including five women and male player from Kalavango Club.
“We are a new team that was formed in 2015 but due to technical issues we delayed to start operating, the Capital Motors Cup this weekend will be our very first competition,” said the club coach Mmoloki Gaobone. Quizzed on how he managed to bring onboard players from seasoned teams such as Kalavango and Spiking Stars, Gaobone said that most of the players are his former athletes whom he groomed during their school days. The coach expressed confidence in his new signings, adding that he is familiar with their strengths and weaknesses.
Gaobone said this is something that will enable him to work at ease with the players and possibly realise his dream of turning them into stars.
“I will be firing on all cylinders and I am confident that I will challenge all other big teams we shall face in the ladies’ section.” Yaros Club is in Pool B with Kutlwano, Kalavango, Selibe Phikwe and Spiking Stars. On the male side Yaros are up against Diphatsa and Police VI in Pool A. The Capital Motors tournament begins this weekend at Lobatse and Molepolole Sports Complex.
New BNOC president will be elected this September
Negroes Kgosietsile not standing
Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) could end the year with a new president at its helm.
The four terms granted to long time president Negros Kgosietsile is expected to conclude in September this year. After winning another term at the last BNOC AGM, Kgosietsile announced that he was serving his last term as president. Thus far several sports administrators who fancy their chances of taking over the BNOC are reportedly lobbying for the plum position.
Kgosietsile, who convincingly defeated Ookeditse Malesu in the last elections, was previously given a mandate to lead the association tasked with assisting codes, to promote the spirit of Olympism and Commonwealth ideals.” This week BG Sport interviews revealed that there are several sports administrators who will be contesting for the plum post. Among them is the incumbent BNOC senior vice president Botsang Tshenyego who many see as a favourite to take over from Kgosietsile.
This week, impeccable sources named incumbent Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) president Daniel Molaodi and Mmetla Masire from Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) as two people likely to run for the BNOC presidency. Highly placed sources within the local sports industry said the next president should address issues of governance, tribalism, transparency and accountability at the local Olympic committee.
This week, highly respected sports administrator Daniel Molaodi confirmed that indeed some affiliates had approached him to contest for the top position at the local Olympic movement. Molaodi is the Vice President at Zone 6 and sits at CAVB development commission. Molaodi also represents local sport affiliates at BNSC. “There are those who think I can contest, I am still weighing options. We have not discussed anything in detail; they believe my governance as BVF president is among factors.”
For his part, Botswana Cycling Association administrator Mmetla Masire said no one has approached him for the top position yet. “I can confirm that I have not been approached by anybody. If they are planning to nominate me, they must be on their way to see me,” Masire said.
Meanwhile former national team athlete France Mabiletsa has however confirmed his interest in succeeding Kgosietsile. “Yes, a number of affiliates asked if I am available this time around and I said yes I am available and I believe I am capable to lead,” said the 1994 Commonwealth bronze medallist. The former boxer said he withdrew his candidacy at the 2004 assembly because he wanted to honour the outgoing president. “The current president announced at the last elections that he was standing for the last time, I believe with him not running the ground becomes even for all candidates,” Mabiletsa explained.
The chairman of Tsholofelo boxing club said management of elite athletes is currently a challenge at BNOC. ”They need a creative mind, we don’t always need money to do things,” said former Olympian.BNOC in partnership with government previously hosted the 2014 Africa Youth Games in Gaborone. BNOC committee is elected by sport codes unlike the BNSC where affiliates vote for all positions except for the chairman who is decided by the minister of youth empowerment, sport and culture development.
The newly-elected Media Relations and Marketing Officer at the Botswana Volleyball Federation, Kagiso Meswele, has a mammoth task of turning around the fortunes of what is certainly the second most popular sport in the country.
Meswele was elected into the position this past Saturday although it was not the position he had prepared himself for. Going into the elections, he had hoped to be elected as Vice President Technical, but was beaten to the position by George Keotsene who was retaining it for the second time since first being elected three elective congresses ago.
On the sidelines of the weekend congress following the elections, it was clear Meswele was not very excited about the role the volleyball delegates chose for him. He cut a forlorn figure, looked deep in thought, perhaps thinking of what really lay ahead of him. His anxiety, which he shared with close associates, is not misplaced – volleyball as it is currently, needs the office he holds.
The volleyball governing body has never had the position of a media relations and marketing officer, and no one was keen on taking up the challenge. After he had lost in two positions, he was nominated from the floor with nobody else showing interest in the media relations and marketing position. Now he is the man tasked with making the sport even more attractive and he has a strategic plan and policies to set up for the new office.
Yet on the ground, his office will be needed more as the association is still fresh from losing a major league-sponsor that pumped over P10 million into the sport over the last decade. It is a mammoth task, but one that will make or break him in the eyes of the volleyball fraternity. Without sponsorships, the sport is in limbo, because there will be nothing to play for. The standards, unfortunately, have been set high, and any league sponsorship that attracts less than P1 million will feel like regression.There was a point in time when volleyball activities were all over, making the sport attractive to the level where clubs could find sponsorships from reputable companies, thereby helping strengthen competition that led to growth. Clubs nowadays find it difficult to attract sponsors because the sport is no longer as popular as before, where every two months there was a competition or an activity.
Last year, only one major activity was conspicuous – the Mascom League. There was neither the Top 8 tournament nor the Capital Motors Independence Cup.There was a time the sport could run several competitions in a year – the Debswana Cup, Barclays Cup, Blue Train Marathon that was sponsored by Botswana Railways, JB Sports Challenge, Schweppes Volleyball Grand Prix sponsored by Kgalagadi Beverages and Keone Mooka Mageu Cup sponsored by the then Botswana Breweries, among other competitions. It was a busy sport that easily gave football a run for its money. This is the same sport that enjoyed live coverage of their matches on national television, and this is the only sport that had a dedicated weekly television magazine show on BTV, called Touch Net.
The volleyball people miss those days, and with the new office introduced specifically for marketing and publicity, this could be an opportune moment to return the sport to those glory days. Meswele, however, comes in at a time the sport code is also in need of youth competitions; when the volleyball people should be working on enhancing their public relations drive; when the sport is losing quality players to the government constituency tournaments and when government has cut down on monies given to sport. These are some of the areas the marketing office will need to address. BVF president Daniel Molaodi, who was retained unopposed on Saturday, emphasised after the election that publicity and marketing were now the priority areas of the sport that appear to have lost appeal over the years. Molaodi said, “It remains our primary objective as the committee to get sponsorships as soon as possible even as we have delegated that responsibility to consultants.”
Such responsibilities within the new committee will be led by Meswele, and that is who the volleyball community will be looking to for answers. Because of the massive Mascom sponsorship, volleyball clubs had begun to either pay their players or at least ensure they cover some of the players’ monthly expenses such as accommodation, toiletry and groceries. Many are now wondering where the money to pay the players will come from and training for all the clubs has not started as there is no word of what will happen of the 2017 season.
Already, Meswele is inundated with questions of how he intends to help the situation, because without the said support, volleyball may be at the beginning of its end. The newly elected committee must come up with more innovative ways of ensuring that without the sponsorships, the sport continues to command its place as the second popular in the country after football.
Close to his new role, all Meswele was promising when he sought votes to become Vice President Technical, was to put BVF activities on the website of the continental governing body of the sport, CAVB. He also promised to lobby for an Indoor Sports Hall owned by the volleyball body.
The women’s Under 23 Volleyball national team will be seeking a place in the Volleyball World Championship if they perform well at the upcoming African Championship slated for Nairobi, Kenya.
The top two teams from the tournament will qualify for the World Championships slated for 2017 whose host country is yet to be revealed. The abundantly talented and albeit less experienced Botswana team is expected to tussle volleyball powerhouses including hosts, Kenya and Egypt.
Speaking at the national team send-off ceremony this week, Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) President Daniel Molaodi said the team is the crème dela crème of the country, adding that they are expected to take over as the senior national team soon. Molaodi said serious attention should be diverted to the team.
“The transitional group to the senior national teams are usually the Under 23 teams, this age group should be paid attention to, not only by training but exposing them to competitions like the one they will be taking part in. This is the beginning for them but we are sending them with hope but this is based on reality, it will be a tall order to say go and win but our desire is for them to compete,” he said.
Since the withdrawal of Tunisia, there are only five teams participating in the tournament being Kenya, Botswana, Egypt, Senegal and Rwanda. According to Molaodi, no team deserves to be undermined. “I know many do not know a lot about Rwanda and believe we will just win but it is not going to be that easy, all the teams will present formidable challenges,” he opined.
Giving a word of inspiration to the team Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), Director, Sports Development –Technical, Bobby Gaseitsiwe said sports is an opportunity and a lot can be derived from it. He cautioned the team to play as a collective. “Your hard work has made you earn your stripes so go there to put an effort and that should not be less than 100 percent. You need each other as a team and you should play each set at a time, do not plan for the third set while playing the first set, and be systematised” he said.
Meanwhile, team coach Isaac Thengelani expects victory during the tourney. “We did not have enough time to prepare for the tournament and another issue of concern is facilities, we train outdoors and during the games we play inside the indoor facilities but we have to compromise and adapt to certain situations,” he said on the sidelines of the send-off ceremony.
Kenya and Egypt are the main concern for the local coach. “It is going to be a little bit of work for us, most players from Kenya have been exposed to an international competition their team comprises of players who have been here during the 2014 Gaborone Youth Games, some were even part of the team that went all the way to win the All Africa Games in 2015. Egypt has four famous players in their team who have been promoted to the national team. We also have three players from the national team, who have not played international games.”
Furthermore, the coach declared the team fit and free from injuries. “We have a fully fit squad and ready to compete nonetheless the period we had for preparations was not enough so if we could win a single game to stay we will have to win or occupy the second position will be a strenuous job for us. We are not equal in strength to our opponents, we can win against maybe Senegal.