Multitudes of hungry local volleyball enthusiasts are expected to throng various courts and halls starting this weekend to witness the start of the Mascom Volleyball league. Volleyball enthusiasts have endured a long break since last year November.
The Mascom Volleyball league is expected to come back to live amid mouthwatering clashes lined up for the opening round of the league.
Although it appeared it was quite obvious that Mascom will return to Volleyball, it was not as smooth sailing as one would have thought after the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) official had made it clear that they wanted an ‘improved’ deal.
This forced the two parties to engage in a series of meetings to find a common ground until they adopted a model similar to the one used in the football premier league and softball; the top four teams in the log will have their own tournament at the end of the season.
With all those now put to bed, it is the time for palms to hit the spikes and cheering to be heard all over the courts as the teams battle for championship supremacy.
The league opening weekend will have some category A games that the sports fanatics will not dare miss. Despite exciting games scattered all over the country, all roads are expected to lead to Molepolole IHS where titanic clashes will be hosted in both categories.
For the ladies, last season’s runner ups, Mafolofolo will battle it out with the third placed Kalavango in a game that is expected to produce fireworks as it could as early as the first game determine the possible league winners who will potentially dethrone Kutlwano.
Last year the two teams were in a bitter see-saw battle which was ultimately won by Mafolofolo who went on to finish in second position. The weekend game renews rivalry between the sides and could present a platform for the bruised Kalavango to settle scores. All the national team players for both teams who are currently on camp are expected to be present, hence there will not be any excuse from either side.
Another mouthwatering clash will be witnessed on the men’s side when rivals BDF VI and Kutlwano lock horns. Last season BDF VI was a shadow of itself and the time is now for them to plot a comeback. The soldier dominated side used to be a force to reckon in the volleyball fraternity.
On the other hand Kutlwano will be aiming to start the season on a high in a bid to defend their title. Should they win against their fierce rivals, it will be a motivation enough to push them to their destiny. Another interesting game will be between Police VI, who finished as runner ups last year, against tricky Mahalapye side, Mag Stimela.
Teams have expressed delight at the commencement of the league.
Monica Alfred, Kalavango captain said they want to improve on their last season position. ‘’For now we want to do better than last season. We want to improve on our standings, especially pole position or second best if we fail to occupy number one, we don’t have any new players because we have both experience and youth who can help us achieve our mandate.’’
On the other hand Kutlwano are also aiming to defend the league, ‘’our main mission is to defend the league. Beating BDF VI will put us at an advantage,’’ Shadrack Kapeko, captain for Kutlwano said.
The sponsorship upgrade by Mascom should vitalise this season. At the end of the season, the top four teams will battle it out in their own tournament. The aim is to ‘’stimulate competition and end the monopoly of some teams especially those in Gaborone.’’ However, the sponsorship is said to have remained steady but efforts to understand the contractual agreement of the two parties were still a closely guarded secret at a time of going to print.
According to the mouthpiece of the federation, Mission Mereyotlhe, they will try to maintain the standards of last season and they will host chunk of their games indoors. ‘’But the negotiations are still ongoing to use the BNYC hall.’’
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.