Senegal aim for historic Olympic Games appearance through Volleyball Empowerment

CEV-FIVB : Infos ven 17 novembre 2023

Senegal’s long wait for a place at the Olympic Games volleyball competition could soon come to an end thanks to the support of the FIVB’s revolutionary programme of Volleyball Empowerment.

Through the programme, Senegal has been benefitting from coach support worth CHF 144,000 and the help of Francois Winograd, a highly experienced French beach volleyball coach seconded to Senegal. An additional CHF 72,000 has already been committed by the FIVB to continue the programme for one more year.

French coach Francois Winograd has been seconded to Senegal as part of the programme (Photo credits: FSVB)

Over the years, Senegal has also received volleyball equipment support, including a Gerflor outdoor floor, Mikasa balls (both indoor and beach volleyball) as well Senoh nets and net system (both indoor and beach volleyball). In total, since 2017, the FIVB has invested CHF 285,000 in supporting Senegal through Volleyball Empowerment.

Winograd has hit the ground running since taking the helm in May 2022, guiding both the men’s and women’s national teams through two editions of the CAVB Zone 2 Championships.

The 2022 edition was held in Gambia, where Senegal’s men’s team emerged fourth while the women’s team won the silver medal. In this year’s competition, which was hosted by Guinea Bissau, the men’s team finished fourth while the women’s team settled for bronze.

“Senegal had always given priority to indoor volleyball, but since my arrival at the head of the federation in 2021 and the arrival of Winograd, we have given more attention to beach volleyball,” said Federation Senegalaise De Volley-Ball (FSVB) President Amadou Seye.

“The most important thing was to get a volleyball expert. Winograd has taught us a lot in terms of training, planning and anticipation in the preparation of junior categories. He is heavily involved in organising beach volleyball tournaments, as well as managing and planning training camps for youngsters with the aim of preparing our national youth teams for the 2026 Youth Olympic Games,” he added.

Senegal’s women beach volleyball team, from left: Fama Diop, Aissatou Walo, Rokhaya Gueye, Aminata Diouf, Bineta Ndiaye, and Sokhna Diouf who are preparing to represent Senegal CAVB Zone 2 Beach Volleyball Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualifiers scheduled for 23 to 27 November (Photo credits: FSVB)

The Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026 is part of the long-term target for the juniors who are being prepared for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028. However, FSVB President Seye is keen on taking steps with the senior team by qualifying for a major continental competition, the 2024 CAVB Continental Cup, which is a pathway to the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

The top three men’s and women’s teams from the CAVB Zone 2 qualifiers set for 23 to 27 November will qualify for next year’s CAVB Continental Cup, whose winner will book a ticket to Paris.

Winograd has a provisional squad of six players each for both men and women teams to pick from for the upcoming zonal qualifiers. The men’s team comprises Seydou Mbengue, Babacar Samb, Pathe Wade, Bassirou Ndiaye, Mohamadou Diallo, and Oussmane Diatta while the women are Fama Diop, Aissatou Walo, Rokhaya Gueye, Aminata Diouf, Bineta Ndiaye, and Sokhna Diouf.

“We are preparing for the zonal qualifiers and hope to be one of the three teams to qualify in both gender categories. We want to test ourselves against the best in Africa to see how we fare.

“We are building a strong youth team that we hope will secure a medal during the Youth Olympics here at home and proceed to qualify for Los Angeles Olympics in 2028. That’s our more realistic target but we also want the senior team to give their best in the Paris 2024 qualifiers to show the young ones that it’s possible to qualify,” said Seye.