Mafolofolo ladies Volleyball team brushed aside defending champions Kutlwano to win this year’s Capital BMW Volleyball tournament. After years of living on the shadows of their illustrious opponents, Coach Kabo Ntshinogang’s charges finally had one over Kutlwano as they beat them 3 ÔÇô 1 in just an hour and 45 minutes. Boosted by their new acquisition, Gaoleseletse Gasekgonwe, who spearheaded the team’s attack with dexterity, Kutlwano were no match for Mafolofolo who were keen to break their long cup drought. In a very interesting game played at the Molepolole Institute of Health Sciences (HIS) indoor facility this past Sunday, it was Mafolofolo who started the better of the two sides, beating Kutlwano 26 ÔÇô 24 to win a highly contested first set.
Mafolofolo never looked back, pressing their advantage in the second set, which they easily won 25 ÔÇô 18 to lead the game 2 ÔÇô 0. However, things did not all go Mafolofolo’s way in the third set as Kutlwano came out the much better side. With Kutlwano pushing them all the way, coach Ntshinogang, with an eye firmly on the fourth set, pulled an ace, withdrawing some of his key players to rest them ahead of the fourth set. In what turned out to be the two teams’ shortest set of the day, Mafolofolo went on to lose the set 16 ÔÇô 25 to Kutlwano in just 21 minutes. The loss meant Mafolofolo went into the crucial fourth set leading Kutlwano 2 ÔÇô 1. With his key starting players now rested, Mafolofolo came out guns blazing and saw of their most illustrious opponents. Despite Kutlwano giving their all, it was not enough as Mafolofolo once again saw them off to break their monopoly over the Capital BMW Volleyball tournament cup, beating them 25 ÔÇô 23 to win the game 3 -1.
Speaking in a post match interview, an elated Ntshinogang said his decision to rest some of his key players in the third set proved a masterpiece as his team managed to keep intensity in the third set. “I decided to take off my first team and put in the second team to see out the third set so that we can put more tempo and energy in the fourth set and put pressure on our opponents. This worked very well because in the fourth set, we pushed our opponents all the way and eventually won it,” Ntshinogang said.
For his part, Kutlwano ladies Volleyball coach Dopp Popo said his team did not start the game very well, which cost them the first two sets. “We did not play well because in the first and second sets, we gave Mafolofolo a lot of free balls which they utilised to beat us with them. That is where we lost the game,” Popo said.
Meanwhile, Mafolofolo ladies nearly had a clean sweep in the individual awards as they won all but one, with Gasekgonwe and teammate Kelebogile Mahupela scooping two awards each. Gasekgonwe won Best Attacker and Best Scorer awards while Mahupela took Best Server and Best Setter. Their teammates, Game Rakgabo and Chada Majaha then won the Best Blocker and Best Receiver respectively. The only award that eluded Mafolofolo is for Best Defender, which went to Kalavango’s Kebabonye Phofedi.