Zambia: Eagles Fly High, Nkwazi Wings Clipped

ZAMBIA'S Green Eagles yesterday opened their Zone Six Clubs Volleyball Championships campaign on a winning note beating Support Unit of Zimbabwe in a highly competitive match at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka.

Eagles' victory came hours after Nkwazi were beaten 3-2 by Rail Stars of Zimbabwe, who also qualified to the quarter-finals of the six day tournament that has seen the women teams playing at the University of Zambia.

Enjoying some good home ground support, Eagles won the first set 25-21 but lost concentration losing the second and third sets 18-25 and 20-25 before going on to level the score 2-all in the fourth quarter winning 15-13 and won the last set 25-20.

Eagles today take on Kamuzi Barracks of Malawi at 10:00 hours and City of Lusaka will play Botswana Defence Force at 16:00 hours. Nkwazi take on Red Skins at 19:00 hours.

Earlier, Zimbabwe's Rail Stars side beat Nkwazi and book a berth at the quarter- finals at the on-going championships.

Rail Stars kicked off their campaign with a 3-2 win over Lesotho's Red Skins in their first game before beating Nkwazi to maintain a 100 per cent start to the competition.

The Zimbabwean team dominated the game from the start to finish and never lost hope even when their key players Condrad Ankle and Mathabis Ndlovu picked up injuries in the third and last quarter of the game.

The team went on to win the first two sets 25-19 and 25-22 before the Zambian team reorganised themselves and capitalised on their opponent's injuries, who lost their momentum as the Zambia Police sponsored side introduced William Mulenga to pile pressure on the visitors.

Nkwazi started dominated and won the third and fourth sets winning 25-19 and 25-20 respectively but got over -confident and made silly mistakes allowing Stars to fall back on their injured players to win the fifth set 15-13.

Nkwazi's coach player Arnold Simuleza described the game as tough and that the team lost the match when they allowed the opponent to win the first two sets.

Simuleza expressed confidence that Nkwazi would recover and win the remaining games and sail through to the quarter-finals saying his team was capable of beating the Red Skins.

"The game was really tough as we allowed Stars to go ahead and made it tough for us to win the match. We just have to work hard and ensure we win our next game and progress to the next round,' he said.

Zimbabwe coach Berth Mapani praised his team for putting up a gallant fight to win the match saying the players played as a team.

Mapani, however, expressed doubt as to whether the players would recover on time to play the next match but remained positive that his boys would do well in the competition.

City of Lusaka was set to play Autoridade of Mozambique in the game that started at 19:00 hours last night.

At UNZA, Nkwazi was expected to face Revivals of Namibia with Kamwala Magic up against KNVC also from Namibia in an evening encounter.

Nkwazi 2 Rail Stars 3

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