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New chapter for Botswana volleyball

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The recent conclusion of a five-day international beach volleyball coaches course in Gaborone heralded a new chapter for the country’s sport as the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) aims to have staged a beach volleyball competition by close of year.

The Volleyball Your Way (VBYW) course that was conducted by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) was only a part of a grand plan to see beach volleyball grace the expanse of the country. Traditionally played along ocean beaches in several coastal cities and towns around the world, beach volleyball has over the past few years been introduced even in land-locked countries where the sand used on the court is often imported from countries with beach fronts.

Botswana is the latest in Africa to consider bringing in the sport after other nations such as Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa and Namibia have been active in the sport for years. Without the benefit of the course last year, Botswana tested the waters by sending two teams of four players to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers in Mozambique, but were eliminated early by their more experienced opponents. It is against this background that the BVF applied for the coaches course in order to get it right from the grassroots.

The 22 coaches from BVF affiliates as well as primary, secondary and tertiary schools who successfully completed the course were challenged to ensure that Botswana hits the ground running in the sport to surpass the achievements of the indoor teams that have shown growth over the years. Botswana National Sports Commission’s (BNSC) Technical Sports Development Director Bobby Gaseitsewe told the graduating coaches: “Botswana volleyball has shown growth at regional and continental level as evidenced by the recent senior national women’s team that for the first time beat Tunisia in the Olympic qualifiers to finish at number five on the continent. I challenge you to use your knowledge to develop players who will surpass the achievements at indoor volleyball.”

Gaseitsewe, who was speaking at the coaches’ course closing ceremony, also challenged the volleyball body to ensure qualification of Botswana to the next Africa Games’ beach volleyball, where they should clinch a medal. He implored the coaches to exercise caution with the advent of beach volleyball as there exists a likelihood of divided attention that could lead to lowered standards. “All of you are fully involved in indoor volleyball and as such I would encourage you to find a balance between the two and not compromise the other one,” he said.

The same concern was raised by BVF President Daniel Molaodi who feared the possibility of talent exodus to beach volleyball which he said was relatively cheaper to run. On the flip side however, he said the sport offered a more realistic chance for Botswana to qualify for the Olympics. Already, the BVF has engaged a number of corporate entities with a view to get sponsorship for tournaments.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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