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MBABANE – OlympAfrica saw eight teams battling it out for the E1 500 first prize incentive at the pre-season volleyball tournament.

Correctional Sunrise was featured first against OlympAfrica and won their game 2-0. Correctional Sunrise served first to set the tone for the game in which they dominated. “We are still yet to get back to full time training, as this is a pre-season tournament to gradually prepare us for the upcoming tournaments,” said Correctional Sunrise captain Sabelo Nxumalo. Bob Cats played to a 1-all draw in their first three sets against Ludzeludze Spikers, hence having to play a sudden death set that would be the decider. Ludzeludze started the first set a bit shaky; their placement on the court created spaces that Bob Cats singled out and capitalised on. Ludzeludze Spikers then pulled up their socks in their second match against the University of Eswatini (UNESWA), which they won 2-0.


Bob Cats went on to win the deciding set 25 (2) - 20 (1), joining Correctional Sunrise as first round winners. Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) was unable to participate; they recorded a score of zero in all matches they were to play. Bob Cats and UNESWA, as a result, had to play back-to-back matches. UNESWA who was featured against UEDF then played Bob cats who had already won their opening fixture against Ludzeludze. However, UNESWA could not beat Bob Cats in their opening game, which then extended Bob Cat’s win to two in two matches played. Correctional Sunrise also on two wins awaited the semi-finals after their game against REPS.

Police side REPS was on form from their first match against RES, which they won 24 (2)-23 (0). They then went on to beat OlympAfrica 2-0 in their second match to level both Correctional Sunrise and Bob Cats on wins. A much anticipated fixture between REPS and Correctional Sunrise took centre stage at 3:30pm. Both sides had won their first two games, making their encounter extra flavourful. Correctional Sunrise captain Nxumalo was on form in all the matches and was one of the standout players of the pre-season tournament.

Correctional Sunrise manager Mathokoza Gama observed a bad start to the season as some of his players were not available for the pre-season tournament. “I have a few players who couldn’t make it, which I think was a bit unfortunate for us, but we understand the situation as one of our players was engaged at home due to personal reasons,” said Gama. REPS served first to start off the match; Correctional immediately made their presence felt in the opening five serves. The two sides went into their water breaks with the police side in front, REPS 19 (0) Correctional Sunrise 17 (0). Correctional capitalised on their ace services that REPS had a hard time defending.


The teams displayed an inspirational performance as both sides had cat-like reflexes in an action-packed fixture. Correctional Sunrise finished the first set leading 1-0. REPS had the next set to make a difference in the scoreline. If they were to stay in it, they needed to win the next set to have a chance in winning the game. Correctional kept applying the pressure on the police side in the second set, making it clear that they wanted the win more. However, REPS reclaimed their dignity and decreased the score deficit to a cat and mouse chase. The police side won the second set to equal Correctional on sets won. The two sides then played a deciding set that would set an automatic winner of the tournament, seeing as these were the best teams on the day.

The second set was fairly balanced, both teams scoring and defending very well. The score difference ranged from 1 - 4 at most. A thrilling performance by the two sides had the crowd in jovial mood from the first set up to the last whistle. Correctional regained energy to increase the deficit. They increased their chances of winning the set and the match.


The match finished Correctional Sunrise 25 (2); REPS 17 (1). Gama was very pleased on how the team performed against REPS, but highlighted that the team started preparing for the tournament very late because of work engagements and felt they could have played even better. The action continues next Saturday, when the ladies take to the courts. They will play until the semi-finalists are produced. A date will then be set for playing the semi-finals and finals for both males and females. The male teams to play the semis are Bob Cats and Ludzeludze that finished in first and second place in group B, as well as Correctional Sunrise and REPS. Correctional Sunrise will face Ludzeludze Spikers and Bob Cats will meet REPS.

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