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KZN make it a hat-trick of volleyball victories

It was celebrations all round at the Seshego Indoor Sports Hall in Polokwane when the KwaZulu-Natal senior men’s volleyball team bagged the coveted national silverware for the third successive year when Volleyball South Africa hosted its flagship inter-provincial tournament over the weekend.

Donovan Nair reports that the month-long training programme held at the Tongaat Indoor Sports Hall paid off for coach Jayson Govender’s men who blasted their way past the Free State, Eastern Cape, the South African Defence Force (SANDF) and host province, Limpopo in the robin stage of the tournament to set themselves up for a brushing encounter in the final against arch enemies, Gauteng.

This time round the Gauteng camp made their intentions quite clear that they have the necessary fire power to wrestle the national title away from defending champions KZN. The signing of two Zimbabwean star attackers, Panashe Chiguta and the tall and strongly-built Puselekso Radebo boosted Gauteng’s chances of reaching the podium as the tournament’s gold medallists. However, unfazed by the presence of Gauteng’s international stars, the KZN lads refused to be intimidated and entered the court for the opening set determined to take home the national championship title.

The defending champions swung into action as soon as the referee signalled the start of the titanic struggle. An all out attacking strategy adopted by both teams kept the fans entertained as they applauded every move their favourite team made to put points on the board. The ‘sparring’ at the net tested the mettle of both attackers and blockers much to the delight of the capacity crowd.

Rising to the occasion, KZN’s power attackers, Jamine Naidoo and Quwin Naidoo worked in tandem to put the brakes on Gauteng’s attempts to unseat them. Clinical finishing from Jamine┬á and Quwin propelled KZN out of their opponents clutches.

With Gauteng’s Zimbabwean stars having little or no room to manoeuvre past the huge outstretched hands of Jamine, Quwin and Prenalen Govender, the team went on a downward spiral. With playmaker Harilall delivering the perfect set the ÔÇ£Naidoo twinsÔÇØ had no difficulty in pulverising their opponents’ hapless blockers in a ‘moment of madness’ that wreaked havoc in the Gauteng camp. KZN went on to close proceeding with a blistering 25-15 first set win.

Not to be out done, Gauteng’s diminutive playmaker, Jeremy Sunker took the game to their more fancied opponents by giving his attack- force┬á a greater chance of unsettling the high riding KZN team with a wide range of deceptive setting. Sunker’s efforts yielded a few valuable points but the challengers could not sustain the momentum as their key attackers, Chiguta and Radebo had to contend with fearless blocking from Jamine Naidoo and Quwin Naidoo who collectively took the sting out of their opponents’ attack force. The KZN team surged ahead with a well deserved 25-20 win to lead 2-0 in a five-set final.

Having gained a commanding 2-0 lead the over-confident defending champions effortlessly brushed attempts from Gauteng to gain the upper hand by posting a 25-17 win to retain the title for the 3rd time in a row.

When KZN skipper Prenalen Govender raised the coveted silverware to the heavens his team-mates and fans raised their voices in praise of their veteran coach, Jayson Govender who is credited for tactfully plotting the downfall of their northern neighbours.

Senior women’s title went to Gauteng, Under-23’s and junior women categories were won by Gauteng as well and junior men’s champions were Limpopo.


1 comments
iriwaan simon
iriwaan simon

Wow what a well written article. I wish I was there. haven't seen quality volleyball in the eastern cape in years.