By Teboho Molapo
MASERU — The 2010 volleyball season kicked off last weekend.
This year the national championship has been divided into two zones and will be contested over two rounds.
Zone A has Qoaling Villa, Maseru, Green Spikes, Butha-Buthe, Lesotho Agricultural College, Lesotho Correctional Services, Under-20 Volleyball Club, Lesotho College of Education and Redskins.
Zone B consists of Lesotho Defence Force, Rovers, Platoon, Mahlaseli, Lerotholi Polytechnic, Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng and Mazenod.
The reason for the change in the national championship’s format is to allow local teams to compete in international standard five-set matches instead of the three-set format which was in use last year.
The Lesotho Volleyball Association’s public relations officer, Clifford Molefe, said the adjustment was also intended to help local umpires master international standards.
“We found that we were jeopardising the chances of our teams internationally. When they got to the third set they tired and were at a disadvantage.”
Last November all three of Lesotho’s teams failed to progress past the group stage of the Zone VI Club Championship in South Africa.
“Secondly our umpires have been unable to qualify to officiate at international tournaments because they do not handle five-set matches,” Molefe said.
“Right now we don’t have any officials who are eligible to referee international games.”
Molefe also reiterated the importance of Metropolitan’s sponsorship of the league championship.
Volleyball has suffered from a persistent lack of funding.
“Their (Metropolitan) sponsorship is huge motivation for us, but people will ask us what we are doing to source more sponsorship,” he said.
“Right now we have formed three commissions — one will deal with sponsorship, another will deal with discipline and the other will be responsible for referees.”
Molefe said the first round of the national championship will be concluded on March 20 before the second round kicks off the following weekend.
By Teboho Molapo