There is a concern in the volleyball fraternity over the sponsorship of athletes who go abroad to study and train at the same time. The concern emanates from the fact that volleyball players who are sent abroad for intensive training are only males while the females are never given a chance. Currently, there has never been a single female who went abroad for studies or even for intensive volleyball training. Information from volleyball circles suggests the issue has been a concern for a long time and it looks like it will also take some time before it is resolved.
“For many years volleyball ladies have been sidelined and only males are preferred,” said a concerned female volleyball player who preferred anonymity. “Even statistics are there for everybody to see. I think something is wrong with the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF). I suspect that only male players are given preference compared to the females. This situation should be addressed with immediate effect or else it would backfire one day. Female volleyball players are talented just like the male ones. What is even astonishing is the fact that Botswana’s female team always excels more than the males team.”
Some of the male volleyball players, who are currently based in Cuba, are Agisanyang Kurwana, Odirile Sibanda, Tshwanelo Boitumelo, Peaceful Seleka and Tshepho Iketeng. It is only Kapeko who has since completed his studies and is now working for the Botswana National Sports Council as a Sports Development Officer based in Serowe. The BVF, on the other hand, told The Sunday Standard that they are aware of the situation and are addressing it. The BVF Vice President, Goaba Nkoborwane, said there are reasons that compelled them to send only males at the expense of the females.
“We are well aware of the situation and we are addressing it. The main problem is that there is a criterion to be followed when sending the players abroad. The situation is rarely balanced because the male athletes are easily available to go abroad compared to females,” he said.
Nkoborwane also added that in the future when opportunities arise they will send female athletes abroad. Volleyball players are mainly sent to Cuba because it is a great volleyball nation and has sports ties with Botswana. Cuba has won many major international volleyball tournaments in both male and female categories. Meanwhile, both female and male teams are in camp in preparations for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. Botswana qualified by virtue of finishing as runners up to South Africa during the zone VI tournament early this year in Namibia.