Sunday, September 20, 2020

Volleyball tide changing?

For a long time, volleyball has been the number two popular sport, after football, in Botswana.
It is renowned for drawing large crowds at various volleyball grounds around the country.

Among women teams, Mafolofolo and Kutlwano are the ones that normally draw larger crowds and whenever they meet, it is usually a tense and entertaining encounter.

On the men’s side, it is BDF VI, Kutlwano and Mafolofolo.

Mafolofolo and Kutlwano have been bitter rivals for some time, but Mafolofolo hold a slight advantage in winnings against their rivals. Mafolofolo’s dominance in the local league led them to enter club African championship in 2006 where they reached the quarter finals.
It was the first time for a Botswana team to go that far.

In the men’s section, BDF VI, under the tutelage of Selebatso Mabutho, has been unstoppable for many years.

BDF VI reached the Zone VI club championships where they have been unstoppable.
This year, however, the tide seems to be turning in the volleyball circles as the powerhouses seem to be playing second fiddle to other teams.
Just last weekend, Mafolofolo lost in the finals of the Debswana Cup in Otse. Kutlwano ladies fought gallantly against a team that has always stood between them and glory.

In the men’s section, Kutlwano, also for the first time in many years, managed to scoop a gold medal, ousting Diphatsa of Francistown. What surprised many people was the fact that BDF VI did not appear in the finals after being edged out by Diphatsa at the semi-final stage. Mafolofolo coach, Kabo Ntshinogang, was not on the bench when they lost to Kutlwano and would not want to be drawn into the discussion that the loss was due to his absence.

“I have to say I have been away from the team for some time and could not even make it during the finals against Kutlwano. I think Kutlwano won because they were the better team on the day and, hopefully, by the time I come back, which will be during the JB Sports festival, Mafofolo will go back where they belong,” he said.

Many people were astonished that although they were using their regular team players, Mafolofolo still lost the game.

Kutlwano’s men’s team, on the other hand, appears to have been boosted by the return of Shadrack Kapeko and Peaceful Seleka who were studying in Cuba.

They have since returned home and Kutwano are now much stronger and it will be harder for other teams to beat them.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.