It’s rare to find volleyball players who played the sport at the highest level giving back to the sport as coaches when their competitive playing days ended. KZN’s Kiruben ‘’KB’’ Naicker is one such person who joins a small band of former SA National team players who chose to impart their playing experience and their newly acquired coaching skills in the development of youngsters.
KB expressed his gratitude to Volleyball South Africa (VSA) for the opportunities afforded to him in representing the country at various African continental Championships, including the All Africa Games staged in Johannesburg in 1999 where he received the ‘Best Defensive Player’ accolade.
According to KB he was honoured to represent South Africa at the World Student Games (volleyball) in Italy. While the SA University team did not perform well in the global showpiece, the experience gained at this level of competition will be beneficial one day when he is given the opportunity to coach university students for national and international competitions.
Meanwhile, teaming up with the legendry Andile Masinga, the duo competed on the SA National Beach Volleyball Circuit over the years. KB and Andile represented South Africa at the African Beach Volleyball Champs in Mozambique where they finished as the tournament’s silver medallists, walking away with a R20 000 prize money.
In 2018 KB and SA beach volleyball circuit veteran, Richard Payne represented the KZN Rhinos in VSA’s National Volleyball League’s beach volleyball competition in Durban.
When the curtain eventually came down on his competitive playing days, KB turned to coaching both at the indoor and beach volleyball levels.
Given his vast experience as a player KB’s services as a coach was snapped up by the University of Kwa Zulu Natal (UKZN) as Head Coach of their men’s team. Relying on his experience as a player of note KB guided his young charges in VSA’s national club championship, the Tubby Reddy Classic hosted at Johannesburg’s John Barrable Hall in 2019. The UKZN lads ended the event outside the top 4
However, in the hotly contested 2021 Champions Cup in KZN, UKZN finished in a creditable 4th position, a remarkable improvement from the previous year. Spurred on by their top 4 position in the Champions Cup KB’s UKZN ended Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) dominance when they clashed in the final at the tertiary institutions’ national volleyball championship (USSA) in 2021.
In July 2022 Kiruben received a call from VSA President, Mr.Anthony Mokoena who offered him the coaching position of the SA Boys’ team for the FIVB U19 World Beach Volleyball Championship scheduled to take place in Turkey in September 2022. ‘’ The President’s offer to coach the youngsters for a World Champs was too enticing to say no to,’’ beamed an elated Kiruben Naicker. KB went on to say that he was honoured to be offered the position of coach of a national team, especially at the level of the under 19.
After the team’s first training camp in Durban KB said that he was pleased that the team was blessed with height and talent and all that was needed was for the boys to be mentally strong to progress past the round robin stage. ‘’ More time with the youngsters to unlock their potential would have been ideal,’’
Released by Donovan Nair – VSA SG
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