Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
PREPARATIONS for the second edition of the Binga Beach Volleyball tournament are at an advanced stage, with organizers hopeful for a “bigger and better” competition.
The tournament to be held at the Binga sand beach on the Zambezi River, will run from December 2-4.
Matabeleland North Volleyball Association chairperson Sifiso Buhlungu said they expect at least 30 teams, double the number of last year’s participants.
Last year’s edition attracted 15 teams.
Buhlungu said they have also extended an invitation to the National Association for Secondary Heads (Nash) to allow school teams to participate at the tournament.
They are also hopeful that tertiary institutions will also send their teams to compete against clubs that are affiliated with the Zimbabwe Volleyball Association (ZVA).
“We’ve covered most of the ground in our preparations for the Binga beach volleyball tournament to be played on a natural beach along the Zambezi River.
“This being an open tournament, we’ve sent an invite to schools through Nash so that the youngsters come and get the real experience of beach volleyball. Each of the 10 provinces has confirmed that they are sending at least two teams, meaning it’s going to be an epic tournament.
“We’ve also been running campaigns encouraging locals in Binga to register for the tournament,” said Buhlungu.
He said ZVA is rounding up a partnership deal for the naming rights of the competition with a corporate which he said could not be named at this stage.
Buhlungu said ZVA has been targeting corporate sponsorship and partnerships so that they can benefit from sports tourism as per national goals.
Organizers of the Binga Kasambabezi Marathon who assisted the ZVA in rallying locals to support volleyball, have been roped in to assist with preparations.
In October, at least 850 athletes from across the country converged in Binga for the Binga Kasambabezi Marathon.
Binga district is popular with tourists because of its rich wildlife, boating and cultural activities and beach volleyball is helping boost tourists arrivals as it promotes sports tourism.
Binga Rural District Council and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) co-manage the beach, which lies less than two kilometers from the Binga Aerodrome.
Meanwhile, registration for the tournament will close on the eve of the finals.
Registration fees have been set at US$30 per team.
Amazon Club of Harare won the women’s competition after beating AM Academy 1 2-0 in the final.
Luveve High School based Luvac won gold after beating AM Academy 1 2-1. – @ZililoR.