Following the historic, first-ever semi-final round played on an Olympic-standard playing surface in Namibia, Namibia Volleyball Federation (NVF) Secretary-General, Gunter Rust, said the surface can only improve their chances of qualifying for the 2017 Club World Championships.
The Bank Windhoek NVF Cup semi-final rounds were contested at the Swakopmund Indoor Sports Centre, and kicked off on Saturday, 5 September with SKW taking on Khomas Nampol Ladies, and winning by 3:0.
SKW will now play NDF in the final next month.
The playing surface which they received from Volleyball England exposed the teams participating to the level of facilities to be expected from any world-class volleyball event.
“It allows us to raise the standard of play of indoor volleyball in the country. The players are used to playing on concrete, which is not very conducive. Because it is hard, there is always the danger of players getting injured when they fall.
However, with a softer surface, players can afford to be more acrobatic, which obviously makes play better,” explained Rust.
Furthermore, the presence of such a surface in the country would allow Namibia to bid for international competitions, which in turn, he argued, would raise the profile of volleyball in the country.
This comes at a fitting point, with the Zone VI Senior club championships taking place in Swaziland during December.
In 2011, Namibia hosted the Zone VI volleyball club championship, which tournament was dominated by Angola, Botswana and South Africa, with Khomas Nampol being the closest Namibian team to climb the rankings, finishing fourth in the ladies’ category.
“We always struggled to keep up with some of the better teams because our players didn’t have the experience of playing on such a quality turf.
As we plan to move the national team’s training to the Swakopmund Indoor Sports Centre, it will hopefully mean our players will be used to that level of quality of play,” Rust noted.
With the Swakopmund Indoor Sports Centre likely to become the preferred ground for high-level volleyball games, there is a chance that this town could become the hub for indoor volleyball in the country, which may somewhat halt the growth of the sport in other regions.
Meanwhile, Rust said there are currently ongoing negotiations with the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), the international governing volleyball body, to have another international standard surface donated to Namibia.
The final round of the Bank Windhoek NVF Cup will take place in Windhoek on 3 October 2015 at the UNAM main campus’ sports hall.
SKW Ladies will take on the NDF Ladies, while in the men’s category, the Khomas Nampol Volleyball Club (KNVC) will face NDF.