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DRC too good for hosts

South Africa have gone down 3-1 to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Olympic Youth Games boys qualification tournament in Durban.

DRC’s devastating win against Morocco on the opening day of the tournament sent shockwaves among their opponents who were forced to take notice of a team that made its intentions quite clear that no-one was going to stop them winning the tournament.

In their encounter against South Africa, DRC were convincingly beaten 25-20 in the opening set. Star attacker, Gerald Chetty and Miles Thompson put the first set beyond the reach of DRC.

With the home fans firmly behind their heroes, SA raced to a 20-14 lead in the second set. With a six-point lead one would expect that the home side would quickly close proceedings.

However, SA setter Marshallino Jullies chose the worst possible time to lose focus on the job at hand. Poor service to his attackers was like manna from heaven for the DRC team who quickly capitalised on SA’s misfortunes and went onto wrap up the set with a hard fought 28-26 win.

Knowledgeable volleyball fans knew that it was going to be a mammoth task for the crestfallen South Africans to bounce back into contention. Despite poor service from playmaker Jullies, the South Africans were merely two points adrift from their opponents. It was SA’s inability to block DRC’s fast hitters saw them slump to a 22-18 deficit. Quick middle attacker, Mayaula Nzeza was a handful for the SA blockers who failed repeatedly to contain him.┬á Nzeza went on to post a heart stopping 25-23┬á third set win.

Once again the SA team had to rely on prolific attacker Gerald Chetty to bring them back into the game. Following two solid blocks by SA’s tall and strongly built Velisa Ntshunshe the difference between the teams was reduced to one point (24-23).

When DRC setter, Patrick Musano delivered a quick set to the middle to Nzeza the tall attacker buried the ball with venom. DRC then sealed the set with a 25-23 score line.

Although SA lost the fourth set 25-23, the youngsters were never intimidated by their opponents’ tall and robust attack force spearheaded by Tshanga Tstubangu, Nzeza and Mbuyi Banza.


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