21-01-2014 : There was everything to play for at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium at Taleigao today, with Mozambique as well as Macau needing that crucial win to realistically stand chance at getting their grip on the top two positions.
In the women’s match, Macau surged ahead in the first set. At one point the team secured a near 10-point lead over their African counterparts, only to see Mozambique claw their way back, before Macau took the set 25-20 (Time: 22 Minutes). Round 2, saw a similarly close result, with a marginal difference of 25-17 (Time: 23 Minutes). The score from Round 3 was 25-10 (Time: 21 Minutes).
At the game’s end, the Captain of the Macau team, Lei Sin Kuan, said, “We have had a great learning and developing experience here. Having played both games, we have, as a team, come to understand, the different natures of the two sides we have played. India has proven to be more meticulous in terms of work ethic, but Mozambique has been just as aggressive.”
The Head Coach, N.G Wai Keong agreed with his fearless leader’s statement, saying, “I am in agreement with our captain, and support what she has indicated about a fantastic performance from both squads, but would like to acknowledge a great performance from our team today.”
His counterpart, the Head-Coach of Mozambique, Amilton De Barros said, “There is no doubt that we fielded our strongest possible squad out there. However, that being said, we were put to the sword from the word ‘go’.”
The Mozambican team’s spokesperson, Team Captain, Elisa Simbine, who spoke on the team’s shortcomings kept it brief when she said, “I would not like to say anything more, other than acknowledge a superb performance from our opponents.”
The second match, between the men’s squads had both teams with the bit between their teeth as they both slugged it out for court supremacy. In Round 1, the teams went at it point for point, with a hotly contested, long drawn first set eventually ending with a controversial spike in favour of the Mozambican team 31-29 (Time: 33 Minutes). Round 2 saw a combative effort from Macau being overturned by Mozambique, with the scores at 25-19 (Time: 23 Minutes). The final set was played out with a result being recorded, identical to the second set, at 25-19 (Time: 22 Minutes).
In victorious elation, the Captain of the Mozambique squad Nuvunga Aldevino Enoque Fernando, stated, “We came here with a plan. A plan to walk away from our second fixture victorious, and I feel that we managed to do just that. It felt good to get one victory under our belt, and I think that it was a largely down to a matter of asserting our superiority over our opponents.”
Lo Si U, Captain of the Macau team, in turn believed, “I felt that we started well, but they took over halfway through. Their spikers and blockers were very powerful.
That being said, we have thoroughly enjoyed the tournament thus far.” His Coach, Sou Tong Man, justified his approach and performance during the game, saying, “We watched the game between Mozambique and Goa-India very closely.
We noted down a lot of the game-play employed by both teams, and had an early morning meeting to discuss the same. We knew that we would be physically inferior to our opponents today, and as such decided to employ a more tactical approach to the game.”
On the victory, the coach of the African squad, Jose Efrain Solano Peraza, said, “I assured everyone after our first match, that our second effort would show greater resolve and promise. I think that we have delivered on those fronts. Yesterday, we were overcome by our opponents, but we were in a much better place today, both physically and mentally, and as such, we prevailed.”