Fatigue and rustiness due to lack of activity over the past year may have taken a toll and contributed immensely to BDF VI ladies team’s underwhelming performance at the ongoing 2018 Women’s African Volleyball championships.
Speaking in an interview, Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) vice president Administration Ndibo Lebala said “the fact that local athletes were not competitively active in the past year could explain the low performances by BDF VI ladies at the continental club championships”.
By Friday, BDF VI ladies, who are Botswana’s sole representatives at the championships had failed to secure even a single win at the championships, which are held in Cairo, Egypt. BDF VI has suffered three consecutive losses in its Pool B matches against Cameroon’s Bafia, Carthage from Tunisia and Harare City of Zimbabwe.
In their opening game, the local lasses were beaten 1 ÔÇô 3 by their neighbours, Harare City of Zimbabwe. Despite handily winning the first set of the encounter 25 ÔÇô 18, BDF VI ladies struggled to contain the Zimbabweans, going on to lose the next three sets 21 ÔÇô 25, 20 ÔÇô 25 and 21 ÔÇô 25.
Things did not get easier for the local girls as they then lost 0 ÔÇô 3 to Africa women club champions, CF de Carthage of Tunisia, in their second game. In what was a lopsided affair, BDF VI ladies lost 4 ÔÇô 25, 16 ÔÇô 25 and 23 ÔÇô 25 to the ladies from Tunisia.
BDF VI ladies’ poor streak then continued on Friday as they lost 2 ÔÇô 3 to Cameroon’s Bafia in what was a tightly contested contest. After losing the first set 24 ÔÇô 26 to Bafia, the local girls rallied back in the second and third sets, winning them 25 ÔÇô 11 and 25 ÔÇô 21 respectively. However, the local girls could not sustain their performances into the fourth set, which they lost 20 ÔÇô 25, thus sending the game into a deciding set, which they then lost 12 ÔÇô 15.
According to Lebala, lack of a competitive league meant local clubs depended on tournaments to keep players active and fit, something which he reckons is not enough to prepare teams for international competitions. “Failure to have league games greatly affects performance as BVF does not have meaningful platform to elevate athlete’s performance. It becomes worse when the players are to compete higher in Africa,” he said.
Another factor that could have played a big role, according to Lebala, is that the team did not possess international playing experience. He said it is the first time for most of the BDF VI ladies players to play internationally, hence their failure to adequately cope.