Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) has decided to devise a self-sponsored tournament in order rescue the sporting code from vanishing following years of inactivity due to lack of sponsorships, BVF president Daniel Molaodi, has told The Business Weekly Sports.
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 not renewed. BVF cup competitions are in the same situation of no one coming forward with sponsorship, JB Sports being the last entity to sponsor tournaments. The COVID-19 pandemic added its toll on sports in Botswana when activities were suspended for some time.
But Molaodi says BVF decided to run a self-sponsored volleyball tournament, lest volleyball suffers a decline. “We figured out that the longer we stay without playing, the more we lose out as sport,” he said in an interview. “It is not a secret that we lost some players due to this lengthy inactivity and we even missed an opportunity to indentify or develop some players because of it. We therefore had to come up with a plan to return to the field of play.”
In setting up the self-sponsored tournament, he added, BVF had to let go of some administrative issues. “It is a sacrifice but a worthwhile one because players are finally returning to the field of play, albeit for a short period of time.” Molaodi said BVF has failed to secure sponsorship for the league inspite of volleyball being one of Botswana’s best performing sporting codes with a sizeable following. “We have been ranked in the number one sport in our zone for the past decade and we have always been in the top 10 in the continent,” he pointed out.
“We believe this should be enough to secure sponsors as we have a product of high quality but we are failing because some companies say we do not have a huge following, which is contrary to reality. It is difficult for us.” The BVF self-sponsored tournament will begin this weekend and is expected to run for five weeks. It will see 11 teams in the men’s category and nine teams in the women’s category battle it out.