Police VI coach, Tshepo Iketleng, was left to rue his team’s inexperience as they lost to Kutlwano in the Capital BMW Volleyball tournament finals. After a bright start to the game, Police VI’s inexperience came to the fore as pressure mounted. After a bright start that saw them neck in neck with Kutlwano, lack of communication when the teams were tied 10 ÔÇô 10 in the first set saw Police lose their grip on the tie as their rivals opened a two point margin, forcing coach to call time out. “I think the players took tension of the game and they placed it upon themselves. They were afraid to make mistakes and if you are afraid to make mistakes, you make more mistakes than you normally do. That is what killed us because they wanted to be perfect and you cannot be perfect in such a high intensity game,” Iketleng said of his charges, who despite a spirited fight back, lost the first set 22 ÔÇô 25 to Kutlwano.
Whatever coach Iketleng told his Police VI charges at recess seemed to work in the second set as Police took the game to their more illustrious opponents. Despite concerted efforts by Kutlwano to race off with the game, they could however not shrug of Police VI’s attentions. Iketleng’s charges would then go on to take a 3 point lead over Kutlwano. With Police VI 24 ÔÇô 21 ahead of Kutlwano in the second set, their mental fortitude was found wanting following confusion in umpiring decision as the umpire rescinded a point that could have won Police VI the set. Despite needing one point, Police VI never recovered as a Tiroyaone Otimile and Libion Machae powered Kutlwano scored five successive points to take the set 26 ÔÇô 24 to leave Police VI trailing 0 ÔÇô 2.
Explaining the unlikely capitulation of his team when needing only a single point, Iketleng had this to say, “We have a team of young men and they do not have much experience compared to some Kutlwano players. They put themselves under pressure and once they made errors, they could not correct them,” the Police VI coach explained. Going into the third set, it was Police VI who finally came into their own, displaying better mentality and game temperament as they took the game to Kutlwano. For the first time in the game, it was now Kutlwano coach Samuels who was forced to call time out as Police VI opened a five point lead. Despite the timeout, Police VI never looked back as they went on to clinch the third set 25 ÔÇô 16 to cut the deficit to 1 ÔÇô 2 and take the game to a fourth set. Despite a valiant fight back in the fourth set, Police could not break Kutlwano men’s resolve as they lost the set 20 ÔÇô 25 and lost the game 1 ÔÇô 3.
Commenting on his team’s win, Kutlwano Coach Isaac Samuel said while he was happy with the win, his team had some concentration lapses in the game which nearly cost them. “We made some silly mistakes which we have to correct when the league resumes, more especially the boys’ concentration lapses. If you look at the set we lost, my players deviated from the tactics which were to attack the centre. They stopped attacking the centre and played out allowing Police to block us. I think we will have to work on the concentration of the boys so that they can keep the concentration throughout until the game is over,” Samuel said.
For their efforts, Kutlwano walked off with a trophy, gold medals and P35 000 prize money while Police VI had to be content with silver medals and a P25 000 pay cheque.
Kutlwano: Shadrack Kapeko, Machae, Otimile, Tyiyapo Madeluka, Reabetswe Jaba, Meshack Mutambirwa
Police VI: Alec Englton, Kesego Kewakae, Kuteene, Happy Ribbin, Shaba Matlho, Nonofo Motswetla