Resumption of volleyball season on track
MASERU – The national volleyball season is ready to resume. Lesotho Volleyball Association (LVA) says they are looking forward to kicking off a new season in two months’ time.
As a curtain-raiser for the 2021 season, which is set to start on August 12, the LVA held a four-team tournament between the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Volleyball Clubs and Redskins men and women’s teams at the LDF Grounds last Saturday.
The army teams routed the visiting opponents with 2-0 wins in both categories. The women side won the first match 25-9 and the second 25-18, while the men’s side won the first set 30-28 and the second 25-16 over.
LVA’s Public Relations Officer, Hlapane Tšehlo, said the tournament, dubbed the “Stimulation Tournament”, was a successful event after more than year without volleyball official activities due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The lockdown did not affect the 2019 season since it ended in December of the same year, while the country first went on lockdown on March 31, 2020.
Tšehlo said the continuation of the subsequent lockdowns only derailed the 2020 season “so much that there was no action at all for the entire year.”
“Therefore, the main purpose of the ‘Stimulation Tournament’ was just to test the waters, to see whether we will able to maneuvre around set Covid-19 rules and regulations. We have realised that indeed we can manage and are now ready to start,” said Tšehlo in an interview with Public Eye last Saturday.
He further said: “Even though we held such a serious tournament, we could not invite many teams because we wanted to comply with the rules and regulations (of the Covid-19) as well as the measures since those were our first official games in which we were also assessing the situation before we could start.”
Tšehlo said for the tournament they engaged teams which can stimulate other volleyball clubs ahead of the new season. Redskins and the LDF’s background is what earned them bragging rights for the tournament.
“The background of both Redskins and LDF is good so far as you would find that it was always one of them who became the champions or runners-up in both categories in our previous seasons. “So we wanted the teams which could stimulate other players and teams after a long time since we last played competitively.
“This was simply one of the reasons why these four teams were selected over others to participate at the tournament.” Tšehlo, however, said after a long time of the Redskins-LDF dominance, the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) male team wrapped up the 2019 season as runners-up to the LDF. He said as a result, their initial plan was to invite the LMPS team instead of Redskins for the tourney.
“But we could not engage the LMPS team since it was yet to register for the upcoming season; we wanted only teams that are certain they will be competing in the 2021 season,” Tšehlo said. The LVA publicist said the standard of the tournament was high as is expected to be the case whenever Redskins play LDF. “But you could see that the players have been inactive for a long time,” Tšehlo said.
But living up to their reputation and dominance, the two teams put up good performances, and Tšehlo said spectators did not wish for an end to the spectacle. This was also because of the fact that the tournament was played in a best three playing format, instead of the usual best five format.
The volleyball season normally commences in March and ends in December, but due to the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, the new season will now start in August.