… Cite financial challenges as they pull out of the CAVB club championships
Local volleyball giants Kutlwano and Mag-Stimela have withdrawn from participating in the CAVB Africa Club Championship due to financial difficulties.
The two clubs qualified for the annual continental tournament last year after finishing in the top four of the Zone VI interclub championships in Durban, South Africa.
However on the eve of the commencement of the women’s tournament in Cairo, Egypt, the two clubs have decided to pull out even though they have shown great interest of competing in the tournament previously.
Kutlwano, whose male and female teams secured the qualification, have been busy training since January the 15th with the anticipation that they will secure sponsorship for the trip. The club has now focused on building a competitive side to dominate the 2019 season.
“We have played in this tournament before and we know what is required to win and play well so it is not a joke. We believe in setting records; so going there to play for last positions, which has always been the case with Zone 6 representatives, is not good for us. All our teams are not ready for the tournament in terms of preparations. We are not up to the expected standard to qualify for the quarterfinals of the tournament. Sponsorship to participate in the competition is also a challenge but we decided not to knock on company doors for the trip. We have instead decided to come up with other activities to strengthen our club. We are eyeing some players abroad to beef up our squad because 2019 is a busy year so by winter we will be in good condition. Our priority now is to build a formidable side,” said Kutlwano spokesperson, Tjiyapo Madeluka.
When quizzed if they will not face sanctions from the CAVB for failure to compete at the tournament Madeluka said, “No, we didn’t confirm our availability or even register for the competition. So it is impossible for us to be sanctioned. Our Zone should fight for us. We are tired as clubs for spending whereas top teams are spending less. Those teams should also come to southern Africa, I bet most of the big teams won’t make it to the south if we can host. We are disadvantaged as a zone. So continental competitions should rotate amongst zones,” he said.
The Africa Championship is one of the expensive tournaments in volleyball considering the fact that teams have to part ways with a P10, 000.00 participation fee. To make matters worse, the tournament is always held in Central and North Africa which means local teams have to spend a lot of money on travel in order to take part in these tournaments. The tournament also does not have any prize money, meaning that teams only play for pride.
Mag Stimela have also allegedly pulled out of the tournament. This publication tried countless time to engage the club executive management however the chairman’s phone, Misani Senome, rang unanswered.
This publication caught up with the ladies senior national team coach Kabo Ntshinogang who expressed displeasure at the predicament which has befallen the two teams.
“It is not a good thing at all but I saw it coming looking at the fact that these tournaments are expensive. It is going to work against us because at the national team we never play any friendly game so we normally count on these competitions for our players to get exposure and play this Arabic and Central African powerhouses. It is a heavy blow for us since this is a hectic year for national teams.”