THE Tongaat volleyball team Liberte won a silver medal at the Asian Pacific Masters Games 2018 held in Penang, Malaysia, from September 7 to September 15.
The players who participated in the tournament were Pravesh Naidoo, Pramesh Naidoo, Prenalen Govender, Devan Naidoo, Kaven Naidoo, Dean Naidoo, Nicky Naidoo, Laven Naidoo, Kiruben Naicker, Gerrard Govender and Kiresh Harilal.
According to coach Kiruben Naicker, Liberte did well in the semi-finals and beat their opponents to proceed to the finals.
In the semi-finals, the Tongaat team won 2-0 in a game played against Saints All Stars. In the second game, the local boys played against Bonthi and won 2-0. In the third game, the team excelled and won the game 2-0 against PNG Port. The next game saw the team play against Swaussies and win 2-0, while in the fifth game they played Delfos and the Tongaat team once again excelled with a 3-2 win.
Naicker said that in the finals, the team won the first games and lost one game to Maafaiy.
“In the finals we played five games in total. But due to the conditions that we were not used to, the team did not perform well in three games. The poor ventilation and humid weather conditions in Malaysia were among the main things that affected our players,” Naicker said.
Liberte was founded in 1978 and is the oldest running volleyball club in South Africa.
Naicker added: “Through their charm, charisma, great sportsmanship and team spirit, they captured the hearts of fans across the country and in various parts of the globe.
“Affectionately known as ‘the people’s team’, the team started competing in the Masters in 2015. “The team is made up of men who played in the club many years ago as teenagers and then as young adults.”
Naicker said Liberte Masters comprises players from 40 years and above, and they have created a great sense of pride and rejuvenated excitement within the club as they have been playing entertaining volleyball, having defended their title in the flagship masters events, the eThekwini Masters in 2017 and 2018.
They were also placed third in the Gauteng Masters in June 2018.
Naicker said despite challenges that the team encountered, and experiencing a traumatic loss after one of their team-mates lost his father before the start of the tournament, the players did exceptionally well.
“The players rallied together as brothers and brought home silver medals, with some games played in honour of a fallen hero, Seelan Naidoo’s father.”