When the Mascom Volleyball league concluded last month, Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) launched a new search for a sponsor immediately to ready for the 2017 campaign.
The wireless company, Mascom, who pulled out from volleyball in 2015, had to return in 2016 after the Minister of Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, (now Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development) Thapelo Olopeng, persuaded them to extend with another year. They acceded to the minister’s plea albeit with many changes including decreased prize monies and cancellation of the exciting Top 8 tournament.
Volleyball was to start looking for new partners for the league and for the Independence tournament after Capital Motors also ditched them. Mascom had been pouring in P1.5 million every season but after the extension last year, they decreased it by P500, 000. Information reaching WeekendSport however suggests a blurred future for the sport, as so far the ten plus companies BVF has approached and furnished with proposals have yet to respond. The federation is however optimistic despite the delay.
“We have started sending proposals beginning of last year and we had hoped that by the end of last year we would have something, but in vain,” BVF Chief, Daniel Molaodi said. However, according to Molaodi, there are some companies which have given them hope.
“We are talking with a number of companies and some are new to the sport terrain, so they have come back to us seeking clarity as to what they will gain if they partner with us and that has given us hope that at least there is interest, and that they might come back with good news,” Molaodi said on Wednesday morning.
The volleyball sponsorship proposals are broken into two parts to cater for the league and the tournaments especially after the independence cup was missing in BVF’s calendar last year. “We are looking for those that can sponsor the league and the tournament so we remain active,” the soft spoken Molaodi said, further adding that the more realistic contract for now will be that of the tournament as it will be rock hard to find a fitting replacement for Mascom who invested millions into the sport.
The two former partners, Mascom and Capital Motors are also some of the companies that BVF is courting though indications are they are not keen in returning as sponsors. The volleyball league which normally starts in April is likely to kick-start without any sponsor.
“Should we get to April with no company committing, we will have to call a special meeting where the volleyballers will take that decision,” said Molaodi who will be contesting in the tough BVF elections next month.
The initial sponsorship was worth P1 million a season for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. After it elapsed, the two parties agreed on a P3 million sponsorship that ran for two years between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. This year however, volleyball players need more competitive games as there are lot of international fixtures awaiting the national teams. Both men and ladies are expected to participate in the African Championships qualifying games.
“We as the EXCO will also have to look at how best to assist the teams looking at our grants to keep all the players busy since there are many qualifiers.” The much awaited elective general meeting is scheduled for February as the auditors are said to be left with a fraction to finish with the volleyball balance sheets.
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