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Volleyballers bound for Blida
- Updated: June 11, 2009
The national women’s volleyball side have booked their berth in Blida, Algeria for the second round of the African leg of the 2010 Women’s World Championship in July.
The SA side started favourites at the first round in Maputo, Mozambique, with their four opponents being Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mauritius and the host nation.
First they crushed a hapless Zimbabwe in straight sets 3-0 (25-15 25-7 25-10). Playmaker Natasha Strijdom picked out power attackers, Palesa Sekhonyana┬á and Zandy Erasmus with clinical precision and the duo were merciless as they blasted their way past their northern neighbours with relative ease.
It came as no surprise when SA’s thrashing of Zimbabwe sent shockwaves through the rest of the field.
But they came up short against Mauritius, despite winning the first set 25-22. The islanders levelled 25-21 and not even a tongue-lashing by coach Thierry Mabeka had the desired effect as they lost the next two sets 25-15 25-21.
Coach Mabeka realised that a loss in any one of his final two matches would end their dream of reaching the continental showpiece in Algeria in July this year.
Putting behind their defeat against Mauritius, Mabeka’s priority was to re-motivate his team to get back to their winning ways.
Fighting toe to toe against Swaziland, SA scraped home in the first set with 26-24. With confidence returning to the South African camp, their will to win secured them a comfortable 25-16; 25-12 victory in the second and third sets.
SA’s final encounter against Mozambique was crucial as the winners would join Mauritius in the second leg of the World Championship in Algeria.┬á Luckily there were no scares as they wrapped up proceedings against Mozambique in straight sets (25-15 26-24 25-17).