Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Cuban Manuel Torres leaves void in local volleyball

Long-serving Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) technical expert Manuel Torres has returned to his native country Cuba after his contract was not renewed by his employers, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC).

Torres was the fourth Cuban coach to have led local national teams since 2004.

His main role was to oversee the development of players and coaches within the volleyball federation which has shown a massive improvement since he took over in 2013.

When confirming the departure of Torres, Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) Vice- President (Technical) George Kootsene said he played a vital role in the development of local volleyball in both administration and technical aspects.

“His contract expired at the end of August after it was extended by a year in 2015 because we pleaded with the sports commission to renew it since he had qualified the men’s senior national team for last year’s All Africa Games that were held in Congo Brazzaville so that he could completed his cycle,” he said.

Kootsene further stated that the departure of Torres leaves a huge gap in local volleyball as far as coaching and development is concerned.

“We would have liked to keep him, but it was not up to us. We were told last year that his contract would not be renewed by the BNSC; we are hoping that they have other plans for the federation because we were one of the best performing sporting code in the country due to his commitment and efforts,” he added.

“Of late we were engaging him in our local centre of excellence and had him circulating around different schools while our national teams were inactive so as to impart his skills at development and grass roots level,” Kootsene said.

Torres leaves Botswana in position five in the African volleyball rankings after their impressive run at the Africa Olympics qualifiers that were held in Cameroon in June despite not qualifying for the Olympics.

“Since we no longer have the resources to keep foreign full time coaches we will have to go back to our old ways of relying on the locals. We will be meeting as the executive committee to see the available options and routes that we can take so as to keep the federation activities and structures that were under the leadership of Torres alive,” he lamented.

Meanwhile, the Mascom Volleyball League will go on a long break because of the 50th Golden Jubilee celebrations that will be on course throughout this month and is expected to resume on October 8.


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