On and off the field excitement surrounding the return of volleyball is arguably unparalleled in local sport, and social media has been set alight by enthusiasts who have more than welcomed back the sport with great pleasure, as the past three weeks have seen action in a self-sponsored tournament.
A little over a decade ago, local volleyball ranked amongst the top ten nations in Africa, both in the men and ladies rankings, a pattern that has been consistently declining in recent years. At its peak, the sport was able to produce players, amongst them, Dipolelo Nkele, Tebogo Sejewe and Tracy Chaba who played their trade in the professional league in Algeria, the latter also representing the country in the United Araba Emirates league.
Lack of volleyball action for the past two years has hampered the progress of many talented individuals, and reversed the gains of national teams made over the years. To revive the sport, the local volleyball governing body, Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) has decided to devise a self-sponsored tournament in order to rescue the sporting code from vanishing, following years of inactivity due to lack of sponsorships, and of course, COVID-19.
The BVF national league has not taken place for more than 30 months, the last league game having been played in the last quarter of 2018 under a Mascom Wireless sponsorship that was subsequently not renewed. Going into their elective general assembly this weekend, a return of former President, Tsoseletso 'Tsosi' Magang, will once again be confirmed as the new president of the federation after she stood unopposed from a vetting process. Magang will be taking over from Daniel Molaodi, who has decided not to contest for another term in office; Magang had handed the presidency to Molaodi back in 2009 and he has been in charge of the office since then.
“My involvement in sport has been over many years, and I have acquired a lot of knowledge in sport, both as an athlete and as an administrator. I am always ready for a challenge, I do not shy away from a challenge,” she said. Already, Magang said she has a number of initiatives that she wants to introduce to revive the game, adding that, one of the issues she will tackle is securing sponsorship for volleyball. She said lack of sponsorship has created a vacuum in the sport and affected its development, due to the long periods of inactivity in volleyball as a result of lack of funds for competitions.
“It was a painful thing for me to watch as the sport I love dearly declined terribly after it had shown signs of growth some years back. For us to be in a situation where we don’t even have a single sponsorship for a tournament is disheartening. Acquiring sponsorships is one of the top priorities on my agenda and I believe that together with those that I will be working with, we will be able to conclude sponsorships deals and corporate partnerships to revive the sport. There is no how we can develop volleyball without a sponsored league and tournaments, this is very key,” Magang shared.
She has served as an administrator at Botswana Football Association (BFA), Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana Open University (BOU), and she believes that her experiences on how organizations are structured and run, will enable her to put structures and processes in place so that it is easy for the sport to return to a state that it should be.