Sunday, October 17, 2021

Setback for ladies volleyball team in tight Olympic qualifiers

The Botswana Volleyball ladies team’s bid to qualify for the Olympic was dealt a serious blow as they succumbed to a 0ÔÇô3 loss at the hands of African powerhouse Algeria.

The local girls lost all three successive sets 22ÔÇô25, 22ÔÇô25 and 10ÔÇô25 in their first outing at the Women’s African Olympic qualifiers, which were played in Yaound├®, Cameroon. Despite putting up a brave fight, Coach Kabo Ntshinogang’s charges were no match for the Algerians. While the overall score line gives the impression that the game was a one sided affair, Botswana volleyball ladies gave the Algerians a good run for their three points, more especially in the first and second sets which were tightly contested.

Despite a slow start to the first set that saw the local ladies trailing their opponents 6ÔÇô8 at the time of the first technical time out, Botswana fought back from the time out to take a 9ÔÇô8 lead against the Algerians. The tables had turned again by the second technical time out as Botswana ladies found themselves trailing the Algerians 13ÔÇô16. However, the local girls rallied back once again to cut the deficit to just one point at 18ÔÇô19. But that was as good as it got for Botswana ladies as they went on to lose 22ÔÇô25. Just as with the first set, the second started with Botswana on the back foot again. They once again rallied back to secure an 8ÔÇô6 lead by the time the first technical time out of the second set was called. From the time out, the local girls seemed on course to win the second set as they led their Algerian opponents 16ÔÇô12 at the time of the second technical time out.

It was however as good as it got for them, as the girls capitulated under pressure when Algeria fought back to regain the lead at 22ÔÇô21. Botswana went on to lose the set by a similar 22ÔÇô25 margin again. Losing the second set seemed to demoralize the Botswana girls as Algeria started running rough shod over them in the third set.  Algeria raced to a 16ÔÇô8 lead and never looked back as Botswana lost the third set 10ÔÇô25. The loss has left Botswana with a mountain to climb if they still harbor any ambitions of participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics, especially when considering the group pool they are in. Botswana has been facing an enormous task from the onset as they were put in Pool B of the Women’s African Olympic qualifiers, together with powerhouses Algeria, Egypt and Uganda. After facing Egypt yesterday (Saturday), Botswana will finish their qualifying campaign with a game against Uganda today (Sunday). 

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