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Volleyball's Olympic hopes dashed in Yaonde

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Samba fair: New Brazillian coach, Augusto Sabbatini could not prevent the losses
The women's volleyball dream of rubbing shoulders with the greatest players at this year's Tokyo Olympic Games came to an abrupt end in Yaonde, Cameroon this week.

This, after the team lost all its matches against African giants, Kenya, Nigeria and the hosts, Cameroon.

The poor results follows soon after Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) engaged the services of Brazilian coach, Augusto Sabbatini on a three-month contract.

The South American was in charge of the women’s ill-fated campaign and he faced a baptism of fire.

The local girls’ campaign got off to a rocky start after they lost 3-0 to Cameroon, before further similar losses to Kenya and Nigeria. The team was due to face Egypt yesterday.

Sabbatini said matters were not helped in the second match of the qualifiers against Kenya, which is a strong side. He said his players do not have much experience like Kenya and Cameroon but they have potential.

“I wish I could spend a lot of time with this team and develop the players,” he said.

Botswana suffered another heavy 3-0 defeat at the hands of Nigeria on Wednesday. Sabbatini said they had a bad game and the players did not

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come to the party. He bemoaned that he had three weeks to prepare for the qualifiers, which was not enough while other countries have been preparing for four years.

“In the future I intend to come up with a programme that can develop a new generation of players for your country,” he said.

BVF president, Daniel Molaodi said they secured the services of Sabbatini through the assistance of International Volleyball Federation. “It is only for three months. We would see how we move from there because we would have loved to keep him longer but he already has assignments in other countries lined up,” he said.

Molaodi said they were looking at options to either bring Sabbatini later, or find another coach for a longer period. He said the coach is currently working with the women’s side but he would assist the men’s team as well.

The men’s team failed to take part in the Olympic qualifiers, being held in Egypt, due to financial constraints.



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