In 2000, volleyball used a new scoring system. Teams scored a point on every rally, regardless of which team served. Formerly, a team could only win a point if it served the ball. Winning the serve back from the opposition was known as a side-out.


SOUTH AFRICA. (SA men’s teams :Final Round Robin matches)


There was not a dry eye among the South African supporters at the Tongaat Sports Centre when the country’s top seeds at the African Zone 6 Championship, AMATHUBA of Cape Town went down narrowly by 3 sets to 2 ( 25-22: 20-25; 26-24; 23-25; 12-15) against Kutlwano of Botswana. Although the SA team were guilty of committing far too many unforced errors, dubious refereeing decisions at crucial stages cost Amathuba a place in the semi-final.

However, full credit goes to the Cape outfit who despite being labelled as the under dogs for their “do or die’ clash against the more experienced Kutlwano, they out gunned their opponents in the opening set with a (25-22) score line. Setter, Ricardo Valentine who is clearly the tournament’s best playmaker put in a brilliant performance to help his team earn the respect and admiration of their opponents and the spectators alike.

Refusing to roll over and play dead, the Botswana coach’s change in tactics paid off. Mixing power play with deft touches into open spaces soon had the Amathuba lads being pushed to the limits and committing unforced errors in the process. Kutlwano went on to wrap proceedings with a (25-20) score line.

With Lucas McKenzie being given the lion share of the attack by playmaker Ricardo Valentine, Amathuba streaked ahead in the 3rd set thus turning the tables on their opponents. When a series of service errors and pedestrian movement in the covers to recover balls that were directed into open spaces reared its ugly head, Amathuba lost their rhythm. When the crowd got behind the SA team their fortunes changed as they sneaked in with a breath taking (26-24) win to take a 2 sets to 1 lead in a best of 5 sets encounter.

However,Amathuba have only themselves to blame for letting the tightly contested 4th set slip through their hands. At (23-23) both teams became too cautious and too afraid to make mistakes. When Kutlwano slowed the pace of the game by choosing to engage in soft attacks that forced the Amathuba players to dig deep in their reserves to chase every ball, resulted in the latter committing two crucial errors that cost them the set (25-23).

In the deciding 5th set Kutlwano grabbed a 8-7 lead which was soon short lived when back up setter, Damien Underwood serviced Ricardo Valentine who was devastating as an attacker. Valentine’s efforts put Amathuba in the lead by (10-8) With a resurgence in attack from the younger Botswana team, Amathuba hung on as far as was humanly possible. The fired up Botswana lads clinched victory by a (15-12) score line.

MATCH REPORT:  LIBERTE (South Africa) V KOBA (Zimbabwe)

SA’s number 2 seeds at the African Zone 6 Club Championship, Liberte of Tongaat did not put a foot wrong in their final robin match against Koba of Zimbabwe when they defeated the latter in straight sets (3-0) ( 25-18; 25-17; 25-18) to book their place in the semi-final on Friday against Kutlwano of Botswana. While Liberte’s unsung hero, middle blocker Kevin Veerajoo was solid in defence at the net, prolific attacker, Ricky Govender was most impressive in attack from both the front court and as a back row attack that often befuddled the Zimbabwean blockers. Although Koba’s hard hitting attackers were a constant threat to the Liberte blockers, crucial stopping at the net by Kevin Veerajoo and skipper Prenalen Govender put paid to their efforts to unseat the Tongaat team.

Taking the first two sets with ease  by a (25-18;25-17) margin threw Koba’s game plan into disarray. Although Koba’s coach was on his feet through out the encounter urging his team on to keep the pressure on Liberte,  Ricky Govender, Nathan Ernest and Shaien Govender stepped up a gear to put the match beyond the reach of the Zimbabweans.

 Report by Donavan Nair

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