Ebola was the common theme as Botswana national teams left the country to compete abroad during the week.
After the Zebras had a session with health officials prior to leaving for the Africa Nations Cup qualifiers on Wednesday, Thursday was the turn for the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF)’s Under 23 women’s national team to get the crucial lectures as they prepared to leave for national duty.
The team left the country on Thursday for Algeria to compete at the inaugural Women’s Under 23 African Nations Cup.
With the Ebola outbreak now seemingly out of control and the government desperate to ensure the viral disease does not spread into Botswana, the local girls had to go through basic Ebola prevention procedures to ensure their own safety during the games.
BVF Senior Sports Development Officer, Mission Mereyotlhe, said the initiative to give the players basic education on Ebola came from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and the Ministry of Health.
“They thought it will be crucial that these young players be sensitized to ensure they are aware of Ebola as a way not only for their own safety but also for the safety of the whole nation,” Mereyotlhe said.
The BVF Senior Sports Development Officer said the local volleyball mother body will continue giving basic education to its athletes to complement the anti doping education that is ongoing. Meanwhile, Mereyotlhe said the Botswana team will not be under the pressure of high expectations when they make their debut at the inaugural Women’s Under 23 African Nations Cup.
“For us, this is the first team of the under age category that we have and we are hopeful it will do the country proud. If you look at the caliber of teams they will be playing against like Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia, just to mention a few, then you will know that this will not be easy,” Mereyotlhe said.
The BVF Senior Sports Development Officer said whether they win or not, the experience of playing against high caliber opponents will prepare the local girls for the future rigors of playing for the senior national team.
“This is part of our plan to prepare them for the senior national team. We currently have a very good national side and what we want to do is to ensure that when time comes for the seniors to retire, there will be flawless transition,” said Mereyotlhe.
The first ever Women’s U23 African Nations Championship, which will be held simultaneously with the Girls’ U18 African Nations Championships, will be held from September 5 to 15, 2014. The championships come after the FIVB introduced the World Championship U23 for the first time in Mexico 2013. The winner and runner up of this Championship will represent Africa in the FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship 2015.