Volleyball South Africa continued with its winning ways of qualifying its athletes for African continental and world beach volleyball competitions when Lukholo Jooste and Aviwe Mamfanya finished as silver medallists at the 2018 Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) under 19 Boys Beach Volleyball Cup hosted in Kinshasa in the DRC from 18-24 April.
Powering their way past their competitors, Sudan, Congo Brazzaville and Algeria in Pool B Lukholo and Aviwe set themselves for a titanic battle against favourites, Mozambique in the continental show piece final for under 19 boys.
“It came as no surprise when Lukholo and Aviwe who are part of VSA’s Beach Volleyball Commission’s plans for the future finished top of their pool, said Gershon Rorich, VSA Executive member in charge of Beach Volleyball. Rorich is a former Beach Volleyball Olympian.
Rorich went on to say that the 17 year old school boys from the Western Cape, Lukholo and Aviwe had their first taste of international competition when they participated in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017. The lads finished in a creditable 6th position at the Games.
“Their maturity level spiked when they stormed past the field in VSA’s under 23 Futures Beach Volleyball competition in Port Elizabeth earlier this year, added Rorich.
In the much publicised final both Mozambique and South Africa did not disappoint the hordes of supporters who converged on the beach volleyball arena to get behind their favourite teams and urge them on to victory.
Favourites Mozambique won the tightly contested opening set by a 21-17 margin.
Spurred on by their first set win Mozambique took a quick 9-2 lead that startled the South Africans. However, refusing to roll over and play dead in the face of Mozambique’s rampant attacking and blocking strategy, the South African lads sprung into action taking the set by the scruff of its neck to level matters (1-1) with a 21-17 score line.
According to SA coach, Gershon Rorich the nail biting deciding set could have gone either way when the score dead locked at a breath taking 13-13. Sadly for the South Africans, “Lady Luck” favoured Mozambique who closed proceedings with a heart breaking 15-13 win to reach the continental podium as the tournament’s gold medallists.
According to Rorich, South Africa will be joining Mozambique, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia as the African Continent’s representatives at the World Championship to be staged in Nanjing, China in July this year.
An ecstatic VSA President Anthony Mokoena, heaped praise on the youngsters, Lukholo Jooste and Aviwe Mamfanya and coach Rorich for their splendid performance on the continental stage that qualified South Africa for the World championship.