The menís volleyball team faces a mammoth task in Egypt when they compete in the Africa Volleyball Confederation (CAVB) and World Cup qualifiers.
The team leaves on October 20, with the trip following hard on the heels of the women side’s baptism of fire in similar qualifiers in Cameroon this week. The women’s team was beaten 3-0 by Egypt and Cameroon while also going down 3-2 to Algeria.
Mmegi Sport caught up with the men’s team at SSG Hall this week. Assistant coach, Kealeboga Mmekwane said the first stage of the competition started in Mozambique and the team qualified for the second round in Egypt.
“The camp started last week Friday, but before that we always had weekend training sessions.
That was meant to build the team so that players are in a better state when the main camp starts. Our emphasis has been on our weak point which is K2, which refers to block, defence and assistance,” he said.
Mmekwane said they always struggle with block and defence, but they are able to match other teams in attack.
He said when the opponents attack them, they have an upper hand (opponents).
Mmekwane said he could not hide the fact that the absence of the league has affected them a lot. “Players were overweight because they have not been training. We had to deal with that. Players lacked game time. We also dealt with ball control, just basics of the game instead of
He said the other challenge is that the players’ reaction is still slow, but they are hopeful of working on it in the remaining days.
Mmekwane said when they play against North African countries they normally gauge themselves with ranking and performance. He said in the last games they played in Egypt, they did well because they beat Kenya for the first time.
He said the aim for everybody is to qualify, but Botswana is always unlucky to be included in the same group with powerhouses of volleyball such as Algeria and Tunisia.
Mmekwane said their wish is to progress beyond the group stages, adding that the team has new players who have the energy. BVF spokesperson, Kagiso Meswele said they have requested for funding assistance from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). He said the annual grant is not enough to run the BVF office, development programmes and national teams.
The team: Lebogang Magote (setter), Phenyo Thebeng (setter), Phemelo Lekoko (opposite), Igobe Sikuku (opposite), Happy Ribbin (centre), Pastor Rebabonye (centre), Moemedi Siphambe (centre), Lesenamore Mudongo (centre), Thabang Ramochele (outside), Sekao Jack (outside), Taolo Lebakeng (outside), Alec Engleton (outside), Bokao Nagafela (outside), Lebani Kula (outside), Emmanuel Mahlunge (libber), Godiraone Dikgang (libero) and Tiroyaone Otimile (centre).