THE Tongaat volleyball team Liberte’, will represent KZN in the first Asia Pacific Masters Games (APMG) that will be held in Penang, Malaysia, from September 7 to 15. More than 10 000 volleyball players are expected to participate in the fiercely contested tournament that will run over nine days. Vice-captain Kiruben Naicker said the whole idea is to show the community that investing in local players is a good initiative. “This is the first international event that our boys will be participating in. We hope that the team will do well in the tournament because we play good volleyball,” Naicker said. He said that the team comprises of experienced players who started playing volleyball in the junior divisions and grew up in the ranks.“We are ready for the tournament. We did fund-raising and secured sponsorships from business people. We would like to thank all our sponsors who sponsored the team. We are ecstatic to present Tongaat in the international,” he said. The Asia Pacific Masters Games is a global festival of sport for participants of eligible ages and all capabilities. There is no qualifying or selection process involved. The minimum age required to participate is 30 years old.The APMG 2018 features 21 sports. Athletes compete in their own age group and category — competitive, recreational or social. The Tongaat team will depart today, September 6, for Malaysia and return home on September 17. Liberte’ holds the distinction of being the oldest running volleyball club in South Africa. The club was founded in the North Coast town in 1978 and has been the cornerstone of volleyball development and participation in the community ever since, and is affectionately known as “the people’s team”.The formation of the Liberte’ Masters team (over 40) in 2015 created great excitement within the club. The current masters team have been playing together for over 20 years so have a wealth of experience playing as a unit and also brought distinction and honour to Liberte’ in senior male competitions in their “younger days”.The team has been performing extremely well in National Masters tournaments, with a third-place finish in the Gauteng Masters in June and it holds the distinction of having won back-to-back titles at a premier master competition in SA, the eThekwini Masters in 2017 and 2018. The team also won the over 35 category in 2016 at the same tournament.Naicker added: “In order to ensure our participation and fulfil the dream of the team members, we would like to place on record our sincere gratitude to those patrons who sponsored individual players and the following organisations that heard our appeal for funding and contributed generously to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Liberte’ Masters Team.”Those who sponsored the team: Shaun Prithivirajh, Ellies Holdings Limited; Naven Naidoo, BPS Partners (Pty) Ltd; Raymond Moodley, Chiefton South Africa; Logan Naicker, Aqua Darshan; Johnny Nair, Hotshots Nightclub; Danny Jagganath, Protea Leather; Shail Maharaj, Niven Clothing; Ravi Pillay, Alushade and Anban Naidoo were thanked.