The women’s national volleyball team is expected to benefit massively from a partnership forged between the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) and Howard University from the USA. The BVF is currently hosting the Howard University National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) women’s volleyball team for friendly matches and potential future collaborations. Speaking during a press conference in Gaborone earlier this week, BVF president Daniel Molaodi said they will get an opportunity to collaborate with the NCAA and further cement a relationship with the US university sports organisation. Molaodi said a number of local athletes have benefitted from the NCAA including former Zebras striker Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane. Molaodi said the NCAA Division 1 is a strong league and some members of the US Olympic team are usually acquiring from this structure.
“Howard are a strong team and we want to learn from them. This year will come with a number of qualifiers for numerous games and playing against Howard will give out girls the much needed exposure,” Molaodi said. The BVF president said the Howard team, which is predominantly African American is expected to conduct coaching clinics at selected schools including primary and secondary schools. Furthermore, Molaodi said they expected another visit from one or two teams from the US in the future. Speaking during the same occasion Howard University team coach Shann Kupferberg said the student athletes in his team are all African American and this makes them feel a kinship with Africa. “This is an exciting moment for them as this is their first time in Africa.
The biggest part of the experience will be education,” he said. In addition, Kupferberg said he was looking forward to training with local athletes. Among other things in the five-day trip, the Howard team will be expected seminars for local coaches. The US team is expected to conduct training sessions the men’s senior national team. The trip will include a motivational game with the Botswana ladies Under 20 team that is being prepared for the AUSC Region 5 games. The Howard team will donate volleyball equipment to the BVF and schools. After their visit to Botswana, the Howard team is expected to travel to neighbouring Zimbabwe.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.
Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.
“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.
Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.
“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.
Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.
“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.
Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe. No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.
Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.
However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”
Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.
However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.
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