Yvonne Webb and Alana Boodoo-Suraj
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T&T to host Cazova Men’s tournament
T&T will play host to the 15th Senior Men's Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (Cazova) Championship from August 4-10 at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo.
The one-week event is being hosted by the T&T Volleyball Federation for the third time, with 1993 and 2002 being the previous hoyears. It will feature five women’s teams and six among the men.
In the Women’s Division, T&T, the four-time defending champion and five-time winner overall will compete with six-time champion Barbados (1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002), Bahamas, Jamaica and Suriname in a round-robin series at the end of which the top two teams will contest the final while the third and four placed teams, battle for bronze.
Missing out on the women’s tournament for various reasons are US Virgin Islands, the beaten finalist on home soil in 2012, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti.
According to Cazova president, Mushtaque Mohammed, also the former president of the T&TVF, Haiti had to withdraw from the competition due to a lack of finances; Guadeloupe and USVI did not register and the change of the dates of the tournament forced Martinique to opt out because most of their players were unavailable.
Among the men’s 2010 champions T&T will do battle with perennial kings and record nine-times winner Barbados (1992-1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006) and Suriname in Pool B round-robin play while defending champions Bahamas who upstaged T&T in five-sets to claim its first crown in St Croix two years ago come up against Curacao and Jamaica.
The teams will compete in their two round-robin groups at the end of which the top team will each advance automatically to the semifinals while the second and third placed teams in each pool meet in cross-over quarterfinals to determine the two remaining final-four teams.
The other teams to have lifted the men’s title are Netherlands Antilles (1991) and Martinique (2008).
The winners of both men and women competition will qualify to the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (Norceca) Continental Championships next year as well as Pan American Cup events.
Looking ahead to the seven days of competitions which comes on the heels of T&T women’s near qualification to the FIVB World Championship on home soil, after losing to Mexico in their decider, Mohammed says he is expecting the entire tournament to be very competitive.
He added: “Most of the top teams in this tournament are coming off of competing in the FIVB World Championship qualifiers and as a result of facing top qualifiers from Norceca there level of play has risen considerably.”
“On paper, we will say that the defending champions in both categories, T&T (women) and Bahamas (men) are the favourites to repeat as champions, but honestly I think that on any given day, most of the teams can beat each other. So its very exciting and this year’s event is one I anxiously am looking forward too,” ended Mohammed.
Prior to the start of the tournament, all the teams and tournament officials will be involved in technical meeting and preliminary inquiry duties at the Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre, St Ann’s on Sunday.
15th Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Championship:
Venue: Jean Pierre Complex, T&T
Women: T&T, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname
Men: Group A:
Bahamas, Curacao, Jamaica
Group B: Barbados, Suriname, T&T
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