JB Sports Volleyball cup is not likely to be played this year as negotiations between the company and Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) are taking long to conclude. The tournament was introduced last year to bring an end to the inactivity which was be-devilling the volleyball fraternity, so expectations were that the tournament was going to be staged again this year.
Although the contract was for only one year with sponsorship of P300 000, there was an option to extend the agreement provided the sponsor was satisfied with the first instalment of the tournament staged in November 2017. However with the month of November almost over, no deal is insight at the BVF office in relation to the competition. To make matters worse, BVF have little time in their hands as they have clubs to compete at the Africa Zone VI Club Championships, host a congress as well as to stage Mascom Volleyball League awards in the period of November-December.
The biggest nightmare is the Zone VI Club Championships which are scheduled to take place next week from the 30th of November till the 8th of December in Durban, South Africa. This leaves BVF with little time to host the tournament if they get a deal with JB Sports since the competition is normally played over a period of two weeks.
According BVF public relations officer Kagiso Meswele the tournament might not be held at all. “I doubt it will be played but what I know is that negotiations are currently going on but it is like we are caught up with time. Even if we conclude negotiations we won’t have time because we are currently preparing for awards and teams have to get ready for Zone VI championships so I doubt we will have it this year. So chances are that in the place of the cup tournament we are going to host some few beach volleyball tournaments,” said Meswele.
While the federation is currently in negotiations with JB Sports for the cup competition, the Mascom sponsorship towards the national league has also elapsed which means BVF have to renegotiate or look for other alternatives. When quizzed on how they are progressing with Mascom on the league sponsorship for the2019 season, Meswele said; “We haven’t stopped looking for other sponsors. We are also engaging Mascom in order to see if they can extend the contract to next year. There is always hope. it depends on the signature, as soon as we get it from Mascom then we will be sure about the extension of the contract,” he said.
In September this year, the Capital Motors cup was not staged after BVF failed to get sponsorship from BMW Capital Motors. Now the same predicament might happen to the JB Sports Cup.
For Kalavango Volleyball Club ladies coach Isaac Thengelani, the absence of the cup won’t make any difference in the volleyball fraternity. “JB Sport has been not around for a long time and it only resurface last year .Now this year as affiliates we haven’t been told anything about the tournament, it was never mentioned during deliberations or through any communique about its existence or none existence. So I think it will be save to say it won’t have any impact because it came just once last year,” said Thengelani.
“The unavailability of the tournament is going to affect performance of players more especially of those teams that failed to qualify for the Zone VI club Championship because there will be nothing to play here locally. In addition those teams which have qualified for Zone VI are also going to be affected since it’s been a while since the league have concluded, so the tournament could helped the teams and use it as their part of preparations for the regional competition,” said BDF VI setter Sesha Matswiri.
“We had hoped that the tourney will be here again this year. Not having it is a disappointment event though we don’t have the right information concerning the tournament. But teams are less active because our league finished earlier and it puts us at a disadvantage at international level. We have Zone VI at the end of November and it has been very hard for our local men teams to win it because of not having many games locally .So the unavailability of the tournament is a heavy blow to us,” said Mag-Stimela player Tsholofelo Retshabile who is also a national team player.
“The absence of the tournament means as the teams we are going to take a long break until the next season commence .So that on its own is going to affect our players because they will be just training without playing any competitive volleyball. So it is a very serious problem because by the time we play again next season players will be very rusty meaning we have to start from scratch,” lamented BDF VI ladies coach Andrew Moleleke.