“At least!” That’s how sections of the Kampala Amateur Volleyball Club (KAVC) fan base greeted their side’s 25-23 win in the third set of their semi-finals with Kenya’s indomitable side Homegrown at the August 2-4 NSSF-KAVC International held at Lugogo.
Homegrown had sailed to a comfortable 2-0 lead at the time on Saturday and eventually won the semi-finals 3-1 to stop the hosts from defending their crown.
It meant much for the home fans that their side could ‘steal’ a set off Homegrown, a side that was largely comprised of highly-billed Kenyan national team players.
It even meant more, with the benefit of hindsight, after the Kenyans steamrollered Burundi’s Gacosmos 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-11) in the finals.
Despite the Kenyan dominance, Ugandan players held their own in a tournament that also attracted participants from South Sudan and Ethiopia too. Sky’s Rwanda-based attacker Emma Kato was named best server while KAVC’s duo of John Mark Okurut and Turkey-based Daudi Okello were named best receiver and attacker respectively.
It has taken eight years for Nkumba University to add to their one crown at the KAVC International.
The Entebbe-based ladies’ side bounced back from defeat in last year’s final to continue it’s rise as the biggest force in local volleyball. Before Sunday’s 3-0 (25-10, 25-18, 25-18) triumph over defending champions Ndejje University, they had won the Genocide Memorial in Rwanda and it could not be wild to suggest they have only the Kenyans for competition in the region.
Quiet one-sided final
Last year’s men’s final between KAVC and Gisagara set the standard for how loud and full the arena should be in the tournament’s most decisive game. That went down the wire as KAVC won 3-2. This time though, it was relatively quiet especially on the left side (as you walk into the arena) as Homegrown beat Gacosmos 3-0.
Lacklustre ladies’ competition
Take nothing away from Nkumba’s triumph but they too could have wished for more competition than the local sides that they played so many times a year – after all the selling point of this tournament is that it provides local clubs with top international games at a cheaper cost.
Suspension of Sky vs. Gacosmos
You have to give it to Sky for wanting to re-establish themselves as a volleyball force once again.
Hearts off to their management for bringing in the likes of Lawrence Yakan and Emma Kato to bolster their squad for the tournament. Unfortunately, they ‘forgot’ the tournament rules and fielded Yakan and another foreign player at the same time in their semi-final against Gacosmos on Saturday night.The rules allow for only one foreign player on court at a time. The alarm was raised – apparently from the hosts – and the match was suspended with Sky leading 12-7 in the first set. Sky never recovered and lost the replay the next morning 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-23).
No Rwandan side
The KAVC International had for the past few years turned into a Rwanda-Uganda affair. This year though, KAVC explained that the Rwandans could not come because of the border conflicts.