Botswana senior national beach volleyball teams’ efforts to qualify for the FIVB World Championships hit a snag following a lukewarm performance at the Beach Volleyball Senior African Nations Championships this past weekend in Nigeria.
Botswana women team made of Jestinah Moyo and Ngirl Wright recovered from a bad start after losing to Morocco in the first game to register two vital 2-0 and 2-1 wins against Sudan and Sierra Leone respectively which sent them to the quarterfinals. However the team only managed a quarter final finish; following a 2-0 loss to Rwanda in the last eight which meant they failed to book a spot at the FIVB World Championships.
In the men’s side, it was a tough affair as the duo of Agisanang Kurwana and Odirile Sibanda could only manage to finish on 15th position out of 18 teams. Botswana men had a tough match against Ghana, losing the encounter 2-1 (18-21, 22-20, 14-16).Local men only managed a 2-0 win against Tanzania courtesy of an injury which meant the opponents couldn’t play therefore Botswana was awarded the win on a silver palter without having to sweat for it. However the team went on to redeem themselves with a 2-0 win against Ivory Coast in positional playoffs.
According to team coach Isaac Thengelani, the performance of both teams was very impressive despite failing to make it to the semifinals of the tournament.
“Because of the same issues of funding we didn’t have adequate preparations as we only trained for a week prior to the games. I believe with the talent we have we can make an impact in the competitions though beach volleyball is relatively new locally in terms of infrastructure and exposure. For me the teams coped very well looking at the fact that we were playing good teams. For our ladies, it is the first time that they are playing at this level. It’s only that humidity worked against us; we are not used to playing in high altitudes and humid environments but I’m impressed with both teams,” said Thengelani.
Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) is participating in beach volleyball competitions as a way of taking the sport to greater level locally. To make their intentions clear, Botswana participated in the Under 21 zonal beach tournament in February and went on to play at the Africa Cup in March.