Alec Egleton of the Police VI men’s volleyball team walked away with the Most Valuable Player award at the 2018 Mascom Volleyball league awards in Gaborone this past Wednesday. The glamorous evening saw Gaoleseletse Gasekgonwe of Mag Stimela winning the Most Valuable Player in the women’s category.
The awards are meant to celebrate and honour athletes and administrators that did well during the 2018 Mascom national volleyball league. The 2018 league came to an end last month with Police VI and Mag- Stimela was crowned champions in the male and ladies side respectively.
The night saw Police VI dominating in the men’s category having won in three categories including Best Blocker (Moemedi Siphambe), Best Server (Phenyo Thebeng) while the MPV went to Egleton. The night saw Phemelo Lekoko winning the Best Attacker prize for Kalavango.
The Palapye based outfit Mag Stimela dominated the women’s category with the Best Attacker Category going to Gaoleseletse Gasekgongwe winning both the Best Attacker and Best Server award. The Mafolofolo ladies team walked away with two individual awards with Kelebogile Mahupela winning the Best Setter award and Gontle Goirwang scooping the Best Libero.
The Best Blocker award went to Tshiamo Chakalisa of Kutlwano.
Kalavango could not afford to be left behind, registering three on both sides and making it six nominees for the club. BDF VI also had five from the men and one from the ladies while the Mafolofolo ladies reduced their numbers to five when their male counterparts failed to make it in the nominees list.
In other categories Maboka Molefi of Mag Stimela won Best Coach in the women’s category while Shimaka Ngwanaotsile took Best Coach in the men’s category.
Over 200 Botswana integrated Sports Association (BISA) and Botswana Primary School Sports Association (BOPSSA) athletes are currently in Maseru, Lesotho where they are expected to compete in the COSSASA games.
The ongoing multisport games started yesterday (Thursday). The official opening of the games was expected earlier today (Friday). The four-day showpiece is expected to conclude this Saturday and the rest of the team is expected back home on Monday.
Botswana is represented by six sport codes including Rugby, Netball, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis and football. The team is made up of the under 13, 15 and 17 girls and boys.Speaking to BG Sport shortly before departure at the team’s send -off ceremony on Monday in Gaborone, BISA spokesperson Letsweletse Jonas said they would be going all out to defend their championship title in Lesotho.
Botswana secured nine medals in Zimbabwe last year and Jonas said they aim to increase the tally to at least 10. “It will not be a walk in the park, we expect to lock horns with powerhouses from South Africa, Malawi and Swaziland,” he said.
Jonas explained that South Africa and Swaziland have been absent from the tournament for a while and they expect them to come out stronger than ever.
Nevertheless he assured that his team is ready and they will not concede to any pressure imposed on them.
Given the four years that Botswana has been participating at the COSASSA games, Jonas said they have managed to maintain a good record as far as bringing home good results is concerned.
However his wish is to see other sporting codes included in the annual tournament. “We had wished that all our 12 codes could participate but the current six codes are the ones affiliated with COSASSA,” he said.
Jonas said that they have gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that all the athletes return home safely, adding that they have enough official personnel to keep close eye on the team.
According to Jonas, the team included 16 drivers, medical personel and coaches while BOPSSA president Busani Segweni is serving as head of delegation.
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.
The 2016 Mascom volleyball league title contenders Mafolofolo did themselves a mighty good favour over the weekend when they beat bitter rivals Kutlwano 3-0 at the Lobatse Sports Complex.
Mafolofolo won the three sets 25-20, 25-15, and 25-19 respectively.
This crucial win saw Mafolofolo affectionately known as ‘ka bo-yellow’ become worthy favourites for the 2016 title. However, the winning coach Kabo Ntshinogang played their achievement down saying that the game was below par. “We did not play a tough match, there was no spark”, said the Mafolofolo coach.
The reluctant Ntshinogang believed their previous game against Kalavango had more spark than the fixture against Kutlwano. According to Ntshinogang the opposition star player Tracy Chaba was the only player who was able to receive and attack. “Psychologically they knew the match would be 50-50. We controlled the whole match. Kutlwano could not receive, we then concentrated on our serve which made life even easier for us”, said Ntshinogang.
“In theory we have won the league, but practically we have one game against them and Kalavango, BDF VI and other games.” In their current season campaign, Mafolofolo command a loaded arsenal including offensive Libero, Priscilla Nthaga and the youthful Gontle Goirwang who is effective in defence. Mafolofolo also comprises talented setter Kelebogile Mahupela.
Kutlwano coach Popo Dopp admitted that the girls did not play as expected. “We did not come to the party, our passing was very horrible. We could not play because there was no pass, if you cannot pass then you cannot play,” said the losing coach. Kutlwano was without the experienced and talented setter Lekedzani Bawi who had to miss the game due to family commitments.
The attacking trio Tracy Chaba, Daisy Galekonye and Thapelo Kamberuka could not rise to the occasion on the day. The team that wins four of their league matches against the other usually determines the champion. BVF ladies teams play four rounds in a season to complete the league campaigns.
The volleyball die is cast on the women’s Mascom Volleyball League as the top two sides, Kutlwano and Mafolofolo, clash in what certainly is a make or break affair for the latter. By the end of this weekend, the direction of this season’s league title may be declared especially if the result goes in the favour of defending champions Kutlwano.
The grueling women’s league season is played in four rounds and at the halfway stage with only two rounds to go, Kutlwano have triumphed over their nemesis in the first two albeit with close margins. Thus a win for the black and white outfit on Saturday will close once and for all, the debate on who the winner of this year’s league between the two clubs will be. To set up an intriguing battle that will go down to the wire, Mafolofolo ought to beat Kutlwano this weekend, and also do that when the two sides clash again for the last of their four season meetings. As it is, Kutlwano are on pole position a 100 percent record having lost no single match so far.
Mafolofolo on the other hand have lost two matches both to Kutlwano with score lines of 3-1 in the first season quarter and a close 3-2 in their second meeting. The first two encounters were played at the Lobatse Sports Complex Hall in a space of a week, but this time the battleground for their third meeting has shifted to Sebele in Gaborone, where the epic match will conclude a series of five matches scheduled to start at 9am at the Botswana College of Agriculture Hall this Saturday. For over three decades now, the two sides have dominated the volleyball women’s competitions as they have taken turns in winning the various volleyball cup and league matches played since the early 80s. Nothing has changed since then, although of late Kutlwano have been the more dominant of the sides. In their first encounter of this year, Kutlwano used their strong serves to subdue their opponents who could not return the balls to their own setter for an offensive of their own. Thus Mafolofolo found it difficult to score and stand up against their superior opponents on the day.
It had been Kutlwano’s strategy against clubs that have offensive power, a thing that has seen their opponents offer little in retaliatory play at the net. Yet Mafolofolo were able to effectively counter this strategy when the two sides met again for the second quarter. The gold and black outfit was able to put up a brave fight that saw Kutlwano narrowly win the encounter 3-2. Now they meet again on the backdrop of their recent sojourn in Congo where the two sets of players combined to form a Botswana national team that won three of their five group matches at the All Africa Games. The team failed to proceed to the knockout stages but the invaluable experience the players got there should be on display on Saturday when they now trade shots from opposite sides. At the All Africa Games, they were accompanied by their two coaches Isaac Samuel and Kabo Ntshinogang who played the roles of Head Coach and Assistant Coach respectively.
Mafolofolo’s national team stars Game Rakgabo, Lizzy Gasekgonwe, Tsholofelo Retshabile, Chada Majaha as well as setters Kelebogile Mahupela and Priscilla Nthaga will be complemented by Taboka Tema and Tsholofelo Oganne and their coach Ntshinogang in trying to stop Kutlwano running away with the title while there are still 11 games to play. However, Samuel at Kutlwano has an arsenal of national team players of his own to help set the record straight and prove they are the best in the business. The said star players include Daisy Golekanye, Caroline Rogers, Karabo Molefha, Thapelo Kamberuka, Tracy Chaba and Tebogo Sejewe. It thus is set to be a strong battle of players who just a few weeks ago were training together as a team under the watch of their respective coaches. Should Mafolofolo let their opponents off the hook, it could be the end of their title ambitions as Kutlwano can thus afford to lose one of their remaining matches and still amass an unassailable lead.
Before this marquee clash that begins at 1700hrs, there will be four other matches featuring other Mascom Volleyball League sides Kalavango, Dynamites and Spiking Stars. Kalavango play their first match against Stars at 0900hrs in a match the former should easily win in straight sets. It will be Kalavango’s first match without their former star player Lizzy who left the club over the winter transfer window to rejoin Mafolofolo. Conversely, the hard-hitting Lizzy will play her first match for her new team at 1100hrs when they test Dynamites’ resolve in another fixture that has always been dominated by Mafolofolo since the two teams played for the first time on May 22 in 2005. Kutlwano will then take on Stars at 1300hrs before Kalavango battle it out with Dynamites at 1500hrs. Kalavango will once again face their former development player Moitlamo Nkobedi who also quit the club for game time at Dynamites during the past transfer window. The 17-year old Nkobedi has so far played three games for her new club, and she has helped the club win all of them.