Local volleyball clubs and supporters looks are bracing for a year of tight money as the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) continues to struggle to find sponsors for this season.
Despite Botswana being ranked among Africa’s volleyball big shots, the local league has been struggling to court sponsors since parting ways with mobile giants Mascom Wireless.
Mascom has walked out of their nine year partnership with the BVF following the end of their sponsorship contract in 2015.
Following an intervention from influential stakeholders, Mascom then extended their sponsorship by a single year to allow the BVF to find other sponsors, an endeavour which has since proven futile
With the league now unlikely to be played any time soon, it has since sufficed that local clubs are now resorting to playing invitational tournaments to keep players active for the sake of national team selection.
It has emerged that elite league clubs compete with constituency clubs in the invitational competitions thus compromising quality and competition of players expected to represent country at regional and continental competitions.
One such tournament, which is slated for September 2nd and organised by BDF VI, will see some elite volleyball clubs locking horns with constituency clubs.
Among the elite league clubs are the likes of Kalavango, Spiking stars, Mafolofolo and Kutlwano while constituency clubs include Kalamotlwa, Vegeta and Soft’n Easy in a tournament slated for SSKB courts.
The latest development is said to be of concern to the BVF leadership, who now fear players may jump ship from the elite league and join the government funded constituency leagues to keep active.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Botswana Volleyball Federation President Daniel Molaodi admitted that ‘they are facing a challenge to lure sponsors to the game.’
As expected, the BVF president expressed fears that lack of funds will force players to withdraw from competitive national league to play in the constituency tournament due to lack of league sponsorship.
‘’We do not have much restrictions on players jumping ship to constituency league which is funded through government coffers. We continue to encounter structural problems as players are looking into money hence playing in the constituency which is sustainable and we cannot compete with it,” said Molaodi.
‘’It is unfortunate that we have not yet secured a league sponsor but I have advised clubs to take initiatives to keep the game alive. However, we will see and assess whether the initiative won’t compromise standards and address the situation accordingly as under current circumstances a lot of negative things occur,” Molaodi told Sunday Standard.
The BVF president said his committee continues to do all it can to find new sponsors for both the league and cup competitions.
“Just this week the BVF had several meeting with two potential companies with hope that they will sponsor the league or cup competition. It is not easy to get sponsors for volleyball but we are all over the place trying to lure sponsors. We are at least hoping for a tournament before the end of the year,” Molaodi concluded.