Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) Vice president – Administration Ndibo Lebala says they have decided to put much efforts in beach volleyball this season in order to improve the sport locally. Of late beach volleyball has been neglected in Botswana with indoor volleyball getting more of the attention.
According to Lebala, they are planning to stage at least two local beach tournaments before the start of the national league as well as to compete in many international beach tournaments this year starting with CAVB U21 Beach Cup.
BVF has already registered for the zonal qualifiers of the tournament which are scheduled to take place from 21st -24th of February while finals will be on 20th -24th of March.
“We have realised that beach volleyball has been lagging behind but this season we have decided to improve it. So we have already taken a decision to take part in many international tournaments this year and we have already registered to compete in two tournaments – one for juniors and the other for seniors. So this season we are going to have more tournaments locally and sponsors are also coming on board because this is a cheaper form of volleyball. And our junior teams have been training all along from last year,” said Lebala.
BVF has also registered to compete in the Senior Men CAVB Beach Cup with the qualifiers expected to take place from the 27th-31st of March. Beach volleyball proves to be fast growing locally even though it’s not common. Last year in July at the Africa Youth Games, Botswana Under 21 team surprised many by finishing on position 13 out of 22 teams on their debut after giving the likes Sierra Leone, Lesotho and volleyball powerhouses Egypt and Cameroon a hard time during the games.
Though more efforts will be channeled towards beach volleyball this year, national teams for indoor volleyball will not be left out ahead of the hectic schedule of Tokyo 2020 qualifiers.
“All our national teams are going to be involved in All Africa Games and Africa Cup; so as BVF we are going to pursue a partnership which started last year with Bring It Promotions, who bring universities from the United States of America to Africa. These universities play with our national team when they come to Botswana and help us to prepare. Most importantly by March we will be sending a delegation to Slovenia to prepare for our national teams there because Bring It Promotions are willing to help us with accommodation and meals for a period of two months while we only buy flight tickets such that we send our national teams to Slovenia for an intensive high profile training camp in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers,” said Lebala.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers are going to be held in two phases with the first round scheduled for November-December while the second qualification round will be organised in January 2020 to determine the African representatives at the Olympic games. In the last qualifiers, Botswana fell short of qualifying by three spots after finishing on position five out of 10 countries. With the deadline for registration for the qualifiers set for February 28 only Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria and Cameroon have confirmed their participation at the qualifiers.