The absence of the national volleyball league has become a thorn into Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) as performances of the national teams continue to dwindle in each and every international competition. While there are more national team activities to come in the next months, team performances have become a great concern as the two teams (Ladies & men) continue to register poor performances, a situation which has been a attributed to lack of action locally more especially the national league. The departure of Mascom Wireless after the 2018 season has left a very big void in the volleyball fraternity as clubs have been left stranded without action for the past nine months. Just recently the national teams embarked on a journey to the Africa Nations Championships in Tunisia and Egypt, but returned home empty handed having suffered heavy losses. The ladies side finished last out of the seven teams with the same for men in a tournament of 10 teams. The same predicament befell the teams in 2017 when the national league was not played also due to lack of sponsorship. Once regarded as one of the best sporting codes locally, BVF’s brand has diminished in standing, having lost almost all of sponsors. Capital Motors and JB sports who once sponsored cup tournaments are nowhere to be found.
While Botswana teams continue to dominate southern Africa region, they fail dismally in continental competitions. With All Africa Games coming later this month and Olympic qualifiers later this year, BVF seems to be in no rush to look for sponsors for the league or cup tournament which can help boost the performance of national teams by making them fully engaged. Early his year BVF shared that there is a partnership deal with Slovenia which will help national teams greatly but as of now nothing has happened. As part of the deal, national teams were to go for a long training camp in Slovenia to prepare for major tournaments. According to BVF Vice president-Administration Ndibo Lebala, the deal still stands having only been stalled by VISA issues. “This is one partnership that is going to help our teams prepare for major competitions. We will have our players attached to international clubs which will help improve national team performances. We need to clear the issue of getting VISA then we will be free to start using Slovenia more especially for the Olympic qualifiers. The Schengen VISA with entry point being Slovenia is processed in Egypt therefore we have to apply for Egyptian VISA first then travel and stay there for 11 days in order to get the Schengen visa,” said Lebala. He said in terms of local competitions it has been hard when it comes to securing sponsorships which means the issue of a league is water under the bridge for this year.