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SA miss out on Games
- Updated: March 9, 2010
South Africa won their final match of the Youth Olympic Games volleyball qualifier in Durban when they beat Morocco 3-2 in the final match of the tournament.
Despite the disappointment of not earning the qualifiying spot SA coach Jayson Govender had made it clear to his team that losing the encounter was not an option for them.
Govender’s charges did not disappoint as they comfortably won the opening set by a 25-18 margin.
The second set belonged to the North Africans as they had the hosts on the back foot. Morocco ran our deserved winners of the second set with a 25-19 score line.
The South Africans bounced back largely through the efforts of Gerald Chetty (MVP). Chetty was unstoppable especially from position two, constantly picking up valuable points with his trade mark powerful cross court attacks. The (25-20) third set win boosted SA’s chances of victory.
But the Moroccans had other plans. Exploiting SA’s weakness in defence through an injury to their libero Cheslyn van Staden, the Moroccans kept the score board ticking when the South Africans struggled to keep the ball alive on their side of the court.
When coach Said Moutaouakil switched Amine Zayani from the role of setter to attacker it lifted the spirits of the Moroccan team. Zayani became a handful for the SA blockers who often wilted under pressure from the effervescent North African.
Skipper Oussama and Mohammed Naoum played a key supporting role to level matters (2-2) when they grabbed a heart stopping (29-27)┬á fourth set win.
The deciding fifth set was an explosive encounter with both teams throwing caution to the wind with a total onslaught strategy.
At (10-10) the set could have gone either way. With the South Africans losing three points in a row it seemed as if the Moroccans were on course to wrap up the set.
The South Africans once again had to rely on Gerald Chetty to fire a few quick points to seal the match with a 15-13 score line.
Dark horses in the Youth Olympic Games Qualifier, the DR Congo booked their place as the African continent’s representative for the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore later this year when they edged out Liberia (3-0) (25-19 25-22┬á 25-21).
While Liberia’s resistance to the highly fancied DRC team came largely from prolific attacker Avenso Mulbah, it was not enough to prevent their opponents from taking the opening set with a (25-19) score line.
Attacker of the tournament, Banza Mbuyi who tortured the Liberians every time that he connected with playmaker Patric Misano’s flawless setting was joined in action by Nzeza Mayaula (best blocker) and the quick left handed hitter, Mbuli Inginda to post a hard fought(25-22) win to keep their hopes alive of reaching the podium as the tournament’s winners.
The closely contested third set could have gone Liberia’s way had it not been for the power and strength of the RDC lads who took the match by the scruff of its neck and closed proceedings with a (25-21) win to emerge as overall winners of the inaugural qualifier.
SPECIAL AWARDS AT THE TOURNAMENT
Best Setter: Amine Zayani (Morocco)
Best Attacker: Banza Mbuyi (DRC)
Best Blocker: Nzeza Mayaula (DRC)
MVP: Gerald Chetty (South Africa)