The Gantsi district menís volleyball team received a baptism of fire after falling 3-0 in their opening two matches at the ongoing Botswana Games at the University of Botswana (UB) courts.
The side lost 3-0 to Central and Kgatleng on Monday and yesterday respectively.
Against Kgatleng, Gantsi started their match in lethargic fashion, losing the first set 25-15. The side tried to mount a come back in the second set but Kgatleng proved stronger, coming from behind to win 25-17.
Gantsi surrendered the third 25-14 to record a second straight loss.
Gantsi coach, Edward Maipelo told Mmegi Sport that they came to challenge for the title. He said it was unfortunate that they met stronger teams that were more prepared.
“We came here with the mentality of winning gold, but playing against stronger sides demoralised my players. I even held a motivational talk with them to try and bring them into the competition. They failed to execute the game plan that I had set out,” he said.
Maipelo said his young players are not mentally strong. He said time constraints also contributed to the losses as they only had a week to prepare. He said Gantsi is a vast district and it was not easy to get the players to train together.
Kgatleng coach, Kebonyemodisa Kootshabe said the plan is to go all the way after watching his side beat Kgalagadi
Kootshabe said starting the competition on a high note was encouraging. “We have practised a lot in defence and block. The aim now is to play in the final. Our attack is also strong, with other players being able to fake and attack. Our setter is spoilt for choice,” he said.
Kootshabe said his players such as Amogelang Lefakang can attack hard balls and put the ball in space. There is also the left-handed Merafhe Medupi who is used mostly to attack position one and two. Kgatleng has a good centre blocker in Kamogelo Morethi who does wonders in the centre. Meanwhile, the court manager, Peter Palalani said teams have shown improvement. He said the challenge is stage fright, which makes it difficult for players to perform well.
“Today we expect sparks to fly. Teams that won two games, which will be competing for the first position and those who lost, want to end in a better position,” he said.
A game between Chobe and Southern districts is going to be tough because they are fighting for position one. Kgalagadi and Gantsi face each other and want to finish well.