The battle lines have been drawn for this year’s Capital BMW Volleyball tournament, with four teams having already booked their places in the finals, which will be held at Otse Police College this coming weekend.
This year’s finals will see Kutlwano Volleyball Club’s ladies team defending the trophy they won last year when they face Mafolofolo while Kutlwano men’s side and Diphatsa will battle it out to decide the tournament’s new champion.
With the prize monies and individual accolades for excelling players at stake, old rivalries are expected to be revived when the four teams meet this coming Saturday.
For the Kutlwano ladies, who are the defending champions, the finals will present them an opportunity to show that their semi-final comeback display against Kalavango over the weekend was no fluke.
Against last year’s losing finalists Kalavango, ‘Big House,’ as Kutlwano is affectionately known, rallied from behind to snatch a well deserved 3 ÔÇô 2 win to book their place in the finals.
After winning the first set, Kutlwano found the going tough as Kalavango launched a fight back that saw the latter win two successive sets.
Things, however, changed on the fourth set as ‘Big House’ regrouped and put on a stellar display to win set to take the game into a decider where they finished it off.
Commenting on their approach to the coming final game against Mafolofolo, Kutlwano’s coach, Isaac Samuel, said they won’t make the same mistake of letting their opponents get an early lead.
“We would not like to be in the same situation as we were against Kalavango again. Mafolofolo is a very good team with experienced players and letting them take the lead hoping for a comeback will not work. We will go into the finals determined to compete with them from the first set,” Samuel said. “Against Kalavango, we had problems with our blocking and defence and this week we will be working hard to rectify them,” the Kutlwano coach added.
After watching Mafolofolo convincingly beat BDF VI 3 ÔÇô 0 in the other semi-final, Kutlwano know they will have to be at their best to beat Kabo Ntshinogang’s side.
Commenting on their game against Diphatsa in the men’s finals, Samuel said the team is determined to win the men’s trophy. He says they are wary of the danger that their opponents pose and they will have to be ready for an onslaught from Diphatsa.
“This is a grudge encounter between the two teams. We beat them 3 ÔÇô 1 in the second round of the league matches and they will be itching to win this one, more so as it is a final,” the Kutlwano mentor said. He says their approach to the game will be to play power volleyball and put Diphatsa on the back foot from the onset.
Kutlwano’s ambition to win this men’s final will, however, be made even tougher by the fact that Diphatsa will be keen to take it after losing last year’s final to BDF VI. Speaking in an interview, Coach Patrick Kooitsiwe said their main focus will be to win the trophy that eluded them in the past season.
“While we have let the past go and would take this final as a new one, we are very keen to win it. It is of no use to go into two finals and not win, hence we want to win this final,” Kooitsiwe said, adding that he expects the game to be tough as both teams know each other very well, but says his team has a fair chance of winning the game.
“Yes, we did lose against them in the league, but then, this is a tournament and it is a different ball game. When they beat us, we did not have all of our players for selection and with all our players available for the final, we are ready for them,” he added.
The finals will kickoff at 1 pm with the ladies’ finals while the men’s finals are set for 3 pm.
Prior to the games, local sports scribes will have to put their pens and notepads aside and play ball when they take on the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) staff team in a curtain raiser at 11: 30 am.