It was all ululations and celebrations towards the end of last year, when local volleyball teams made history at the Zone VI club championships. The clubs won gold medals and automatically earned themselves tickets to the Africa Club championships. Mafolofolo participated at the championships about a fortnight ago and bowed out early. After Mafolofolo’s elimination, all eyes were glued on BDF VI, but all that is now water under the bridge. The tournament is currently underway in Niami, Niger while BDF VI is still at home. It has come to the attention of The Sunday Standard that BDF VI could not make the trip due to financial difficulties.
According to the information reaching The Sunday Standard, BDF VI’s budget to Niger was more than P300 000, while the Botswana National Sports Council could only afford P100 000. BDF VI was then told to raise the additional money for the trip, something which, it is reported, they failed to do.
On the other hand, the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) defended their move. BVF sports development officer, Mission Mereyotlhe, told The Sunday Standard that BDF VI’s trip to Niger was expensive and the only way was for them to raise the additional money to cover the costs of the trip.
“It was unfortunate that BDF VI could not go to Niger to represent Botswana. Normally when teams go outside the country, there is a certain amount of money the Botswana National Sports Council contribute which is P100 000. The one they contributed for BDF VI was too little for their trip because it was expensive compared to one for Mafolofolo. There are no direct flights from Johannesburg to Niger, one has to go through Europe first and it is very expensive. BDF VI were then told to raise additional money of about P100 000 and they failed to do so that’s why they did not go,” he said.
Mereyotlhe also said it is the first time this has happened in Botswana. He also added that BVF could also have helped BDF VI with the little they could, but they have budgetary constraints. He added that the men’s national team has qualified for the All Africa Games and, as such, are given priority. Efforts to contact BDF VI officials were futile at the time of going to press.
But one source alleged an act of sabotage to BDF VI. The source questioned why it is that BDF VI is the first team to fail to represent Botswana after so much hard work of preparations. The source said other teams like Mafolofolo ladies team did not have any hassles.
“BDF VI was going to represent Botswana not the army; this is an embarrassment. I am surprised BVF did not go around to source the money for the club from the government. Didn’t they know this all this time? Somehow I saw it coming because BVF is in chaos. Right now the sponsors have run away and the leagues are not running, it is very sad,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the men’s national team will go into camp on Tuesday this week in preparation for the All Africa Games (AAG) which will be held in Algeria in June. The team is yet to be finalised because they do not have a coach. Their Cuban coach is reported to have gone back home and it remains to be seen who will take over.
It is, however, rumoured that another Cuban coach, Carlos Orta Fellove, who coaches the ladies national team, would take over.
Botswana qualified for the AAG for the first time after doing well at the Zone VI games last year.
They are going to face a mammoth task to go past heavy weights like South Africa, Kenya and Egypt.