Unfancied Moyale win volleyball battle against KB

Written by  Chisomo Ngulube

They were not expected to go beyond the group stage, neither were they billed as favourites. But Moyale Women’s Volleyball team defied the odds stacked against them to defeat fellow army side Kamuzu Barracks (KB) 3-1 to win the invitational women’s volleyball championship played largely at the Blantyre Youth Centre over the weekend.

Hail the champs Hail the champs

Moyale made their intentions clear in the group stages when they stunned defending champions 3-2 in their final group game to win their group and set up a semi-final berth against fellow North side Katoto Trickers whom they whacked them 3-0.

KB on the other had a fairytale journey to the finals. The soldiers did not drop a set all the way from the group stage into the semi-finals where they clipped the wings of defending champions Blue Eagles and annihilating the police side 3-0.

The final was a battle for supremacy characterised by long rallies, end-to-end action. Moyale’s diminutive, seemingly youthful players had determination splashed all over their faces, they took the nail biting first set 23-25 to declare their intent to win it.

But their sisters from the army headquarters quickly showed who’s boss, they won the second set by a comfortable 21-25 margin.

With darkness creeping in, the match was shifted from BYC to the College of Medicine Indoor court. At the time the two finalists were tied at three games all.
Moyale, comprising two army wives and soldiers’ daughters returned onto the court fired up, they served, smashed and blocked their way to a 3-1 win of the title.

“We listened to our coach who emphasised on training. He also told us not to be afraid of the other teams. They are women just like us.
We did not come all the way from the North to lose, we came here to win,” said captain of the side Evangelista Nthani Kamangeni.

KB vice captain Fannie Kanyenda said of their journey to the finals: “its commitment we have shown during the training which has seen us not dropping a set until now.”
Defending champions Blue Eagles settled for third place after defeating Katoto Sisters.

Some games were played in the dark

“Blue Eagles is still a better side. But as you know the other teams trained as hard to also get the championships. So, the best team won,” said Jane Mtawali, a former Poly Aces player who has continued to play active volleyball since graduating from the Polytechnic in 2004.

The tournament brought to the fore lack of fitness and endurance needed to last five sets among some of the players. Some teams also lost points for ignorance of new rules around rotation of players, positioning.

The tournament was organised to encourage women and girls to play volleyball and to pump in new blood into the sport. Most of the current volleyball players are former secondary school and college graduates some of whom are well into their 30s with yet other even close to or above 40.

The event was sponsored to the tune of K2 million by a family which chose to remain anonymous.

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