Botswana National Under-23 women’s volleyball team left for Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday with the sole intention of finishing on the medal podium at the African Women National Championships that starts tomorrow.
Team Botswana comprises of 14 girls who have been on a month-long training camp at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN), under the guidance of Isaac Thengelani and Dopp Popo.
Botswana will join Egypt, Rwanda, Senegal and Kenya to battle it out for the only African slot in the World Women Championships in Slovenia next year.
Thengelani said given the preparation time they worked under, they were looking for a better finish even though all of their opponents are a hard nut to crack.
“What we are mainly focusing on is to gain much needed experience at national level, because their ages range from 17 to 21 years and most of them are first timers in national team set-up. Over the past years our teams have been claiming sets over Egypt and Kenya but they have never beat them so we are hoping for a better run this year,” he said.
He further stated that his team was selected based on age and their abilities and strengths in various positions which he believes has all what it takes to compete for the honours.
“All of these players play in the elite league in different teams and they know the basics. My role was to see who could fit where and how. The youngest in the team is 17-year-old Gontle Goirwang who is the hardest ball hitter in the team and I believe it was a good idea to blend experience with youth so that it makes a complete team,” added Thengelani.
The team is made up of senior national team regulars – Dynamites star player Jestinah Moyo, Kalavango’s Libero Kebabonye Phofedi and skipper Caroline Rodger of Kutlwano Volleyball Club who are expected to lead with their experience.
Rodger said that their target was to bring home a bronze medal.
“We had adequate training and we are expecting nothing less than bronze. We had three training sessions a day which I believe is the reason why we should perform better, and the team chemistry is of top notch and the girls are happy and ready to take on Africa. We are up to the fierce challenge that we are facing from other teams and I have told the girls not to lose their confidence,” she added.