Reno Six, Spreading Love for Volleyball in Africa

Reno Six, Spreading Love for Volleyball in Africa
Published: 2021-10-26
0/5 Average rating
Please sign in in order to rate the blog.

VG:  Do I dare to begin this post in a rather negative and criticizing way?  

I do.

Firstly, I would criticize myself - for taking way too much time to write this blog post.  

Secondly, I would criticize all those who at times take things for granted.

And as we speak about volleyball, we speak here about life as well.

What do I mean, you might be asking yourself?

I grew up loving and living the game, and I consider myself lucky enough to have had this virus in my veins for as long as I remember myself.

But I also remember growing up, and when founding the club in my hometown with my mum, going to businesses, asking for help. Just help to buy balls, or help to buy some sweaters for the team. I remember how was it like training in cold and old halls, where dust from the walls would be falling constantly in our eyes when we would train.

As ridiculous it might sound, I do appreciate all of that. But I do appreciate also the moment when a new sports hall was built up in my hometown, and we could go train there from time to time. I promise you, we were feeling like living the dream.

Years have passed, and I have seen a lot of venues - modern, big, small, not that modern. But to date, if I say "My Hall", I understand that already not that new hall in my hometown… Besides the big positives of new infrastructure, and better conditions to train at, it meant much more to me and my volleyball friends. It meant possibilities.

And sometimes a possibility and a chance are all that we need.

This is what I reminded myself after the chat we had with a special volleyball guest from Tanzania, Africa - Reno Six, a young man with a dream to bring volleyball on the continent to the next level. As we at SportsEdTV share special attention to such dreams, this time around we invite you to join us and explore a little bit more on what volleyball means in Tanzania.

Volleyball in Africa - where and how?

Excited to share more about volleyball in Africa, Reno told us that actually, volleyball is quite popular on the continent, and in Tanzania in particular.

Reno Six: “Here, in Africa, the volleyball game is basically in schools - primary schools, secondary schools, universities. You basically cannot get to see the sport if you are not in school. Most of the African players and most of the people in Africa, they can catch and see the game of volleyball only in the school environment. Or maybe, if you are lucky enough, you are around a school where there is such a sport, and you can see it by chance...

I started with volleyball in 2011, in secondary school, so basically, I wasn't able to watch any volleyball until I was in secondary school. This is where it all started for me. I enjoyed watching it and I noted the way that it unites people in the schools and everybody seemed to be familiar with it.

In the schools, this is the game that involves both all the students and the teachers at the same time. In comparison to other sports, like soccer for example, there you can see only powerful kids, who run energetically. Some teachers have difficulties being included in this process. The same is in basketball - it is a tough game, not everybody can be involved. Only volleyball can include everyone - the players have distance, it is not a sport with a lot of contact. Volleyball is not separating anyone from anyone, all are one big family."

SportsEdTV: “So, volleyball is number one sport in Tanzania, in Africa in general? From what you tell, it looks like it is the sport that unites people… “

Reno Six: “Yes, the culture of volleyball is to be familiar with each - you play with ladies, you play with the girls at the same time, we are mixing teams. Most of the schools here are operating like that. And this is how I got my passion for the game as well.”

SportsEdTV: "But was volleyball that popular, massively popular, 10-15 years ago or it is just starting to speed up, to say so... “

Reno Six: "At last, the game is becoming popular. The reason is that maybe five years ago there weren't such kinds of projects like the ones that we have now. Nowadays, we, the younger generations, are coming with these projects aiming at least to start building the game on a more professional level. We are trying to help the game become more popular.  Another thing that is slightly changing, compared to 5-10 years ago, is that some of the media like TV and Radio, they started giving the chance to give some coverage of the games and attract sponsors. 10 years ago there were no networks like YouTube, like Instagram. Now, using these, for now, such platforms are there, and it has become easier to promote the game.

SportsEdTV: “People have more access to explore the game. Tell us a little bit more about your project? How is it named, and what are its aims?

Reno Six: “I have two projects, but the main one is establishing a volleyball club. There are a lot of clubs in Africa or Tanzania, but we need to make them more professional. I tried to set a project, focusing on and analyzing all the problems that are there. For example, that's why my vision of the club is to be acknowledged as the pioneer in Tanzania.  So I expect all to learn from us, and how we are doing.”

SportsEdTV: “So, what are the biggest problems for the clubs to function, for volleyball to function?”

Reno Six: “The first problem is the leadership, the management of the club. That’s the first problem - because we are in 2021, but the way we are running our clubs it seems like we are in 1998, like 20 years ago. The way things are being done right now - we can't promote our clubs, we are not opening social media of the clubs, and respectively, we are not making the most out of it.  For example, here in Tanzania, I created the Instagram account of my club a year ago, but it is already the most followed not only here, but outside as well. It is because of how I am branding and positioning, and I believe it is very important to share this knowledge.”

SportsEdTV: What is the name of your club?

Reno Six: “I put an effort also in coming up with the name of the club - Kilimagnet. I tried to name it like that because it is an abbreviation of two words - Kili is the place where we are, in Kilimanjaro. And on the other hand, you know the function of magnet - I hope to attract more people, more talents, to attract other sports and to attract more companies to believe that they can invest in volleyball."

SportsEdTV: “What would be your message to all those people you are mentioning? Why should they help you make the sport grow?”

Reno Six: “They have to believe in volleyball. There are clubs like in Trentino, Modena, Lube - people there trust in volleyball, and I hope in Africa they will start, too. Most of the companies that come from outside -come and invest. They can help grow this sport."

SportsEdTV: “How will you use this help? Are you going to hire a very famous coach, or are you going to buy more balls?”

Reno Six: For now, I think that the goals of the club are to make it semi-professional, and for us to do so, we have to have our infrastructure. For, now, we don't have a training court. We are renting a place from a school, and we train there and try to do everything. So, logically, the first aim for us is to have training facilities. I also believe that other clubs can take advantage of that - they can come and use our court. We are ready to share - I have been thinking of cooperation with local associations, making some clinics, junior camps in our regions. Once we get this infrastructure, we are sure that we won’t use them only for our club, but we will share them with our whole volleyball community in Tanzania.”

SportsEdTV: “So, it’s starting from the scratch, from the basic level, and then add other resources."

Reno Six: “Yes, because it would be a lie to say that one we get the sponsorship, we will get players like Ngapeth, for example, that’s not right. We have to start from low to high. Unfortunately, this might be a problem here in Africa, because projects are not given enough time. We are rushing, but it is important to give the project some time. For example, we are having a development plan from 2021 to 2026. And once we get the money, for example, we will do big things, I am sure, but we mustn’t forget the basic things.”

SportsEdTV: “You need the human resource as well. How is the situation in this aspect?”

Reno Six: “I am the founder and the CEO of the club, but I have other people supporting me. We have a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer, a project manager… We are ready to work. Another situation, that we have, here in Africa, there are not many people who work for the government and are involved with volleyball. Luckily, some of them have played it in school, and they are happy to help if given the chance and invited. These are people who are interested in volleyball, they have volleyball ideas, and we don't have to stay away from them."

SportsEdTV: “Why did the kids in your club choose volleyball?”

Reno Six: "Most of them, got their interest in volleyball in schools. We have two centers in the same region but different districts. All of them are under my control, I have to go there, to watch them - there are 36 kids in total; 20 in one center, 16 in another one. Again, I have my senior club, with a senior team, and I try to organize some activities for them - for example, a one-day tournament with the participation of universities.”

SportsEdTV: “What would be your message to the world regarding the future of volleyball in Africa?”

Reno Six: "We need a lot of support from organizations like CEV, FIVB because they have a lot of ideas. We need to constantly check on what other clubs are doing. In Africa, we need ways to spread the knowledge. I was thinking of creating a Summit in Tanzania, inviting international volleyball people, to share the knowledge with local people - with the federation, officials, coaches, managers, to do a kind of benchmarking. In Africa, we have a lot of powerful and energetic players. Their physics are good, but the living conditions are very tough. The place is good, but there are difficulties in living sports in a professional way.”

SportsEdTV: “So you have the potential and need the external push.”

Reno Six: “I hope that once a successful project like this is run smoothly, people in Europe or around the world, can see the impact of players from Africa.”