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UZ Wolves fall at African championships

The tournament, involving 21 teams, kicked off in Cairo, Egypt on April 12 and will end today.

UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) Wolves volleyball club finished 16th at the ongoing African Volleyball Club Men's championships after losing 3-1 to As Injis from Cote d'Ivoire.

The tournament, involving 21 teams, kicked off in Cairo, Egypt on April 12 and will end today.

UZ Wolves, the sole representatives for Zimbabwe, were drawn in Group D together with Kenya Port Authority, Green Buffaloes (Zambia),  Police Volleyball Club (Rwanda) and Volleyball Club Garde Republicaine (DRC).

It was, however, a level too high for the team after they were outclassed 3-1 and 3-0 by Kenya Port Authority and Rwanda Police, respectively, before their consolation 3-1 win over Zone VI champions, Green Buffaloes.

The 3-0 loss to Al Naser (Libya) on Saturday shattered their chance of progressing beyond the  round of 16, which left them battling for the 13th to 16th position contest.

On Monday they lost 3-1 to Volleyball Club Espoir (DRC), with yesterday's loss sealing their 16th position.

Speaking after yesterday's match, UZ Wolves team coach Gift Chirebvu highlighted that the team had a great start though they later gave in to the pressures of the games during the course of the tournament.

Chirebvu said: "The players poured their sweat and tears on the volleyball court from day one. The level and intensity of the matches we played were very demanding physically and mentally. No moment to rest or relax. As the days progressed, the level of energy and concentration went down as this was a totally new phenomenon for most of these boys ... only two out of 14 boys from the team had been here."

Chirebvu also noted that there were a lot of key take-aways from this tournament which can help local clubs and even the nation at large to be highly competitive at such platforms.

"The tournament has, however, made us see how other African teams play the same sport out there. We are not far behind, but we have a huge room for improvement as a team, country and zone. One Coach once told me: ‘There is a lot of volleyball to learn out there. You can choose what you want to take and leave the rest for someone else, volleyball information is infinite.’ I believe this has been proved to be true as one small margin of error was sufficient to lose a match.

"We need to be strong physically. Volleyball is a game of skill and power and we can do better to improve the level of competition by engaging some of these good volleyball countries such as Kenya," he said.

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