The 2018 Volleyball league is expected is kick off with a bang at the DOC Tournament in Swakopmund which is and an open tournament attracting the best teams from all over the country hosted in Dome at Swakopmund annually in the first week of February.
The Namibian Volleyball Federation (NVF) has undergone a countrywide decentralization process leading to the inception of 6 regional associations that has made the league bigger and better over the years and this year more teams are expected to enroll, technical director of NVF Cristian Scholfe has told The Villager.
“We expect the league to be bigger and better this year. The inception of further association in other regions has make this possible. We have had 50 teams registered for the league country wide last year and we expect more teams to register through the regional Volleyball associations, ”he said.
He added that there is still no centralized league system for the league but only regional leagues for both genders which is running simultaneously and the NVF is not involved in day-to day operations and running’s of the league and this task is left to the executive bodies of the regional associations.
The six association that that is under the umbrella body of NVF are the Central Volley Ball Association of Khomas region; Erongo Volleyball Association; Central Northern Volleyball Association; Far North Volleyball Association and Omaheke and //Karas region Volleyball Associations that joined the league this year.
Scholfe explained that there is a set of challenges that the NVF and the regional associations faces.
“One of the biggest challenges we face are logistics issues due to long distances the teams have to travel to play league games and financial issues because it is very difficult to find sponsors to support the running of the league to cover travel cost and other transportation cost. Another challenge is the amateur status of volleyball in the country. All Volleyball nationwide is practiced on amateur level meaning there are no salaries paid to the players and every price money is to be won playing Volleyball competitions or tournaments,” he said.
He added that lack of suitable and consistent facilities is one of the major challenges NVF face because the level of the sports facilities varies significantly within the country and often games and tournaments are played outdoors on concrete floors or grass making it difficult for the players to consistently practice and compete on the same standards
According to Scholfe, for the 2017 league seasons the Namibian Sports Commission (NSC) has pumped in N$50 000 for administration purposes of which part of the funds were used for commencement of the league and in recent years, the bulk of the cost of running the federation and Volleyball as a sport code in the country was carried out by Bank Windhoek as the main sponsor.
Furthermore, the Bank Windhoek Namibian Open, the biggest Beach Volleyball Tournament in the country is set to take place in Swakopmund on Mole Beach and there are a number of tournaments and events that will be happening throughout the year, Scholfe has stated.
“The overall number of active and registered players in the country has increased drastically since the regionalization of Volleyball a few years ago. Now there are nation-wide and regional structures in place governing and developing the sport which is a great success. This lead to a more competitive volleyball landscape in the country and more teams demonstrating strong performances. However, these processes brought with them a lot of change and challenges which are being tackled by the regional associations and federation,” he said.
He added that with limited financial resources and other limitations the NVF has not managed to develop the sport to the extend it would like to and there is still a lot of potential left untapped such as school teams volley.