The 2023 edition of Volleyball South Africa’s prestigious national inter-club championship, the Champions Cup for both genders co-hosted with Kwa Zulu Natal Volleyball from 10-14 October, got off to a great start on Day 1 of the competition at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal’s Westville Campus Sports Centre.
The championship is being televised by Vision View Television. The pristine volleyball facility at UKZN Sports Centre set the stage for an exciting week of scintillating volleyball action by the country’s top contenders who will pull out all the stops to book their place at the African Zone V1 Club Championship in December this year. Players were rubbing their hands in glee when they were informed at the Technical Meeting on Monday that prize money was on offer at the Champions Cup. An added incentive that national team squads will be selected at the event was greeted with excitement by the teams.
Meanwhile, in the men’s category tournament favourites, Lions of KZN set the court alight in their clash against Gauteng’s Vaal University of Technology (VUT) by edging out the Gauteng lads in a hard fought three match thriller, 25-19; 25-18; 25-21. In a post- match interview, Lions’ coach, Rudy Naidoo said that the victory against VUT had boosted their confidence of reaching the podium as the tournament’s gold
Lions’ arch KZN rivals, UKZN had to fight all the way to close proceedings against Limpopo’s Bulldogs by a 3- sets to 1 scoreline (25-23; 25-18; 21-25; 25-18) to keep their hopes alive for a semi-final place. While Bulldogs were ferocious in attack, it was their defence at the net that set the two teams apart.
In the women’s category, it was a walk in the park for Mpumalanga’s Beat Masters who defeated Wits Jaguars in straight sets, 25-12; 25-14; 25-18. Johannesburg’s KAD made their intentions clear of being among the tournament’s medallists by overcoming Limpopo’s Valencia in straight sets, 25-19; 25-11; 28-18. For the Western Cape’s Ballers who were making their debut at the national club champs, it was a baptism of fire when VUT, Gauteng’s experienced outfit thrashed their opponents 25-11; 25-12; 25-8. In their second match on Day one, Ballers succumbed to a 25-18; 25-7; 25-18 defeat meted out by Tshwane based, TUKS.
At 14:00, Day one fixtures ground to a halt for the hosting of the Official Opening Ceremony of the 2023 Champions Cup at the UKZN Sports Centre. The glitzy function was graced by dignitaries from the KZN Department of Education and the Gauteng Sports Confederation. VSA’s Secretary-General, Donovan Nair deputised for President Anthony Mokoena and delivered an address on the President’s behalf.
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