When Guaya United raised the T&T Super League trophy on Tuesday night, it was the culmination of a season of tension, struggles, and rebounding that ultimately led to joy.
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Dickson makes two changes to T&T’s volleyball squad
T&T men’s senior volleyball team coach Gideon Dickson has made two changes to his 12-member squad for the 15th Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (Cazova) Championship which serves off at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo from Monday to Sunday. The two players drafted into the team are Mikhail Hoyte and Brandon Legall at the expense of experienced duo, Kevin Nimrod and Sean Morrison, who were part of the team that won its maiden title four years ago in Suriname before surrendering the crown to Bahamas in a tense five-setter two years ago in St Croix, US Virgin Islands.
Nimrod and Morrison are the only players who were also part of the team for the FIVB men’s World Championship Third Round Qualifiers in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada held in May, where T&T ended third in its round-robin group behind the host and Costa Rica and ahead of Panama. Heading the squad is veteran Nolan Tash along with European-based duo, Marc-Anthony Honore (Portugal), Ryan Stewart (France), setter Saleem Ali, libero Ryan Mahadeo and the youthful but very effective supporting cast of Akim Bushe, Darnel David, Daneil Williams, Simon Blake and Joshua Mohammed.
This is only the third time T&T will be hosting the championship after doing so first in 1993 and then 2002, finishing fourth on each occasion, and this time around coach Dickson is very optimistic team can go all the way on home soil. Among the men, 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 in Pool A.
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). With respect to his team’s chances, Dickson first noted that his team would face two very strong teams in Barbados and Suriname in their group series, from which the winners qualify straight to the semifinals.
He added: “Honestly, I think all six teams in this tournament have a fair chance of being crowned champions because the standard has risen considerably with the aid of the World Championship qualifiers against stiffer opposition.” Commenting on his team’s preparations, the long-serving T&T coach said his team has been preparing since March for both the World qualifiers and Cazova events. “We did not succeed in the World qualifiers, but it helped us to prepare for this tournament as well.
The T&T coach also praised the management team of both the Central Regional Indoor Sports Arena and Jean Pierre Complex, for the time giving to the team to train. “Both venues were very helpful in allowing more training time which can only serve as a plus for us as we try and fine tune whatever weaknesses we may have in our game,” ended Dickson. Today the T&T men will have a morning training session at the tournament venue as well as another on Monday morning before facing Suriname in their Pool B opener on Monday night from 8 pm ahead of its meeting with Barbados on Wednesday, also from 8 pm.
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 winner the men’s crown will qualify to the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (Norceca) Continental Championships next year as well as Pan American Cup events.
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.
T&T senior men’s vball squad: Ryan Mahadeo (libero), Nolan Tash, Akim Bushe, Darnel David, Saleem Ali, Daneil Williams, Ryan Stewart, Simon Blake, Marc Honore, Joshua Mohammed, Brandon Legall, Mikhail Hoyte.
Men’s tournament groups and fixtures:
Group A: Bahamas, Curacao, Jamaica
Group B: Barbados, Suriname, T&T
Sunday August 3rd:
8am - 11am: Preliminary Inquiry - Cascadia Hotel
6pm - Welcome reception - Cascadia Hotel
8pm - Technical Meeting - Cascadia Hotel
Venue: Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo
Monday August 4:
Opening Ceremony, 5pm
Men: T&T vs Suriname, 8pm
Tuesday August 5:
Curacao vs Bahamas, 4pm
Suriname vs Barbados, 6pm
Wednesday August 6:
Bahamas vs Jamaica, 6pm
T&T vs Barbados, 8pm
Thursday August 7:
Jamaica vs Curacao, 4pm
Friday August 8:
Saturday August 9:
Fifth/Sixth spot playoff, 12 noon
Sunday August 10:
Third place playoff, 2pm