Botswana volleyball national teams produced a stellar performance at the recent Beach Volleyball Zonal Challenge series dubbed Maputo Open held in Mozambique over the weekend. Botswana sent a total of eight athletes made of four pairs, 2 men teams comprising Tiroyaone Otimile, Tony Orapeleng, Sekao Jack, and George Chiswaniso and 2 women team including Tracy Chaba, Thapelo Kamberuka, Ngirl Wright and Tsebo Marape who were pitted against the top ranked team players within the region.
The men pair made of Chiswaniso and Sekao won Bronze after defeating South Africa in the Semi Finals on Sunday to become the first team in Botswana to win a medal at the regional beach Volleyball contest. The tournament was dominated by the hosts (Mozambique) pairs who won gold and a silver respectively in the men’s contest. The other pair of Otimile and Orapeleng finished 6th. The ladies pair of Chaba and Kamberuka missed a podium finish by a whisker after losing to South Africa to finish 4th out of eight team in contest. Mozambique claimed the bragging rights after winning gold and silver in the women section.
In a recent interview with Gazette Sport, Men’s team captain Otimile said they are impressed with their progress more so that they have been trying to develop the sport in the country since it was introduced a few years ago. “The team and the local federation are very happy with the results looking at the fact that beach volleyball was introduced in our country not so long and our players have been making great progress. One thing that is worth noting is that we have made history by winning the first ever beach volleyball medal for Botswana. I must say we have made huge progress because teams that have been in beach volleyball for the longest time have been struggling to collect points from us and it is a call for extra hard work from us,” he said.
The teams are set to progress to the next stage, which is South Africa, Johannesburg next month to continue with the competition the series which is rotational amongst participating countries.
“We are now back to training and preparing for the Johannesburg outing slated for April. We are going to fix areas such as defence call, attack, offence and technique so that we are a complete team when we face our opponents again. We are very sure that we will improve our play despite lack of resources in our country but with the little we have we will surely do our best. We are now targeting to match Mozambique and South Africa because they are the powerhouses of beach volleyball in the region. This is one of the great developments that have ever happened to Botswana volleyball because now we are diverse and versatile in all areas.”
Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) was rescued by Bonnita Long Life recently who sponsored them to host a national beach volleyball tournament after a three year hiatus owing to Covid-19 complications. The tournament served as the national team selection for the recent zonal tournament. For his part BVF Vice President technical George Kootsene also expressed gratitude towards the team that represented the country well in Maputo.
“We are happy and we have realised that we have potential in beach volleyball and we are promising nothing but support to our teams. The federation is working around the clock to bring more sponsors that will better and motivate our local volleyball standards both beach and indoor,” he said.