Mafolofolo ladies volleyball team made history two years ago when they became the first local club to reach the semi-finals of the Africa Club championships in Mauritius. They faced some of the toughest teams in the continent but managed to prevail under trying circumstances. Last year, however, it was not smooth sailing and they performed dismally in Cairo, Egypt, the same place where they will be sweating it out again this year.
Mafolofolo have been the dominant force in local volleyball for years and are adamant that they will also try to shock the powerful volleyball teams at the tournament that started yesterday (Saturday).
“We will be playing against the teams we know very well. We know almost all the teams and I can promise Batswana that we would not be in Cairo to make numbers, but to fiercely compete. Things are in place just like they were in 2006 when we reached the semi-finals,” said the team coach, Kabo Ntshinogang.
Ntshinogang also added that another factor that made Mafolofolo perform dismally at last year’s championships was the fact that he could not accompany the team due to work commitments. Ntshinogang told Sunday Standard that the only teams that always give them sleepless nights are Kenyan and Egyptian ones. He, however, said there is always the first time.
“It is a known factor that Kenyan and Egyptian teams are the dominant forces of African volleyball. But we will do our best and, if you can remember well, gone are the days when they always defeated us without winning a single set. Nowadays, we go to an extent of winning sets against those countries. That tells you something and we are surely closing the gap and this time around anything can happen,” he said.
In regard to the dormant local league for the past two years, Ntshinogang said that has not had a huge impact because there have been tournaments in the past. He decried the situation but added that it is not as bad as many people might think. He also expressed optimism that the Botswana Volleyball Federation would sooner find a solution to the problem by organizing many tournaments and even the league.
Mafolofolo will be represented by eight players, namely, Dineo Mogapi, Dipolelo Nkele, Tsholofelo Retshabile, Kelebogile Mahupela, Tshepho Serwe, Lizzie Gasekgonwe, Priscilla Nthaga and Tshwanelo Boitumelo.
Teams that are scheduled to play Mafolofolo are VC Canon (DRC), Pipeline, Prisons, Commercial Bank (Kenya), AS Des Mineurs (Guinea), Nkumba University (Uganda), Moulidia (Algeria), Al Shams, Al Ahly (Egypt)