JESHI STARS substantiated their increasing dominance in women volleyball in the country after finishing as runners-up in this year's Nyerere Cup International tournament in Kilimanjaro earlier this week.
Tanzania Amateur Volleyball Association (TAVA) organized the tournament in an effort to maintain effective promotion of the sport at the domestic level, apart from offering preparation for top domestic outfits that will compete in regional tournaments.
Jeshi Stars, who were the defending champions in the women category of the tournament, failed to maintain their hold on silverware after conceding a narrow 3-2 defeat to Kenya's Nairobi Water Supply Company in the final, in which both sides showcased plenty of exciting displays to keep the crowd cheering.
Magereza, who are Jeshi Stars' bitter rivals, had a third place finish in the category as their consolation as they continue to slowly lose their grip on the big gun status. In the men's category, Kenyan teams again held sway as Mombasa's Prisons emerged champions, followed by Garisa Water Supply Company in the second position while Dar es Salaam's Magereza came third.
Members of some of the participating teams in the men's category, however, expressed doubt on Magereza's position in the standing and claimed the team did not deserve the third position given that it experienced less impressive spell.
TAVA Chairman of Regional Development Commission, Alfred Selengia, though, clarified that Magereza took the third position on the basis of having won the bigger number of sets as compared to the rest of the teams in the men's category.
Several other domestic volleyball stakeholders further voiced concern on the selection of domestic teams that compete in the Nyerere Cup, saying TAVA should have left the door open to almost every team that can meet its participation costs.
Other teams that participated in the tournament and their countries in brackets include Nairobi Stima, Kenya Pipeline, Migadini (Kenya), Muzinga (Burundi) and the hosts' outfits of Dodoma, Kilimanjaro Stars, KCMC, MUCCOBS, Mzinga and Zanzibar's Mafunzo.
The Nyerere Cup International tournament is the last event in the TAVA annual calendar and regularly involves top volleyball outfits from around the East African region. Participation of foreign outfits in the tournament has always been hailed as a crucial move towards strengthening the performance of domestic sides.
Jacaranda Club won the trophy in the men's category of the last year's tournament with victory over Dar es Salaam's Magereza in the final. In the last year's women category, Jeshi Stars emerged champions after overcoming bitter rivals, Magereza in a stiffly contested final.