Trinidadians chase record seventh U-20 CAZOVA title 


SAINT LUCE, Martinique, July 13, 2013 – Trinidad & Tobago, coached by long-serving Macsood “Macki” Ali, will start as favourites for a record seventh title on the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Junior (Under-20) Women’s Championship crown when the ninth edition serves off on Sunday.


It will be the first time that Martinique will be hosting a CAZOVA tournament since the 2003 edition of the Under-20 tournament in which T&T won the women's title. However on Sunday's opening day of matches in the five-team competition, the six-time winners T&T, will not be in action as it has the off day.


Instead, two-time runner Barbados will serve off the tournament against 2009 champions Guadeloupe from 5.30 pm followed by host Martinique, hoping to improve its best ever showing of third spot back in 2003 on home soil facing last year’s runner-up US Virgin Islands at the Hall des Sports, Saint Luce.


The Netherlands Antilles was the only other country to have won the Under-20 Women’s Championship in 1999.


The five participating will first play a round-robin tournament at the end of which the top four teams will advance to the semifinals, with first meeting fourth and second facing third for a right to play the gold medal and bronze medal matches.


At the end of the tournament the winner will qualify for the NORCECA Continental Under-20 Championship to be hosted by the USA later this year.


Last year in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, T&T led by tournament “Most Valuable Player” Channon Thompson, won a record sixth crown and fifth in six tournaments.


However, Thompson along with team captain, Samantha Prescott and a few others are no longer part of the team which is now led by newly appointed captain Zahra Collins.


Despite their absence the Ali-coached squad will be hoping for a repeat of its showing on the French-speaking Island in 2003 when it won its second straight Junior Women’s crown and third in four outings.


Collins is no stranger to success as she was part of the T&T Under-16 team which also lifted its CAZOVA divisional title last year in St Croix and is one of nine members of either the Under-16 or Under-18 team which were victorious at last year’s tournaments, in this current squad.


Speaking yesterday, the 16-year-old Collins said the team’s arrival in Martinique on Friday everything has been going according to plan.


“We were the first overseas team to arrive for the tournament which allowed us the chance to get an early use of the practice facilities which was good for us,” Collins said.


With regards to the team’s chances of securing a record seventh title at this level, all under the guidance of the Coach Ali, Collins said the team was very confident of doing well even though they had little knowledge on the host and Guadeloupe teams.


“We have seen US Virgin Islands and Barbados before and know what to expect whereas we don’t have much information on Martinique and Guadeloupe because they did not compete at the last edition in US Virgin Islands and don’t know what to expect,” she added.


“Despite that we have prepared very well under our coaches and we have come to this tournament very confident that we can retain our title,” ended Collins.


Coach Ali echoed the views of Collins saying that the confidence level of the team is very high.


“They (T&T players) know exactly what they are here for and it’s now all down to staying focus on the job at hand and executing our plans, match by match.


Ali added, “Like Collins said, we don’t know much about the French speaking teams but we expect all teams to be very competitive and come hard at us because we are the defending champions.


Ronald Regna, First Vice-President of the Martinique Volleyball Federation first noted it was ten years now that Martinique will be hosting its first CAZOVA Championship Tournament and it will be a challenge to welcome the ninth edition even though its only five countries.


“We are on school holidays and it will be an opportunity for us to have a lot of people to come and follow the competition because sometimes people don’t know how the sport is played and we are trying to raise the level.


“Overall it is an honour for Martinique to welcome the participating teams to the competition and we hope that what we do as an organization will meet all the requirements of CAZOVA.


Mushtaque Mohammed, president of CAZOVA expressed his delight with the return of Martinique to competition in the confederation at the junior level and hopes it continues on a regular basis.


With regards to the facilities, Mohammed said it was a small one, but was very satisfied that it met the requirements and playing standards of CAZOVA.


Mohammed, also the Vice-President of NORCECA reminded all the members of the Control Committee and local federation that it was important to make sure and put the athletes first.


“We need to make sure and think about the athletes first in terms of security on the court, and provide a very comfortable playing environment,” stated Mohammed.


 Tournament participating teams: Martinique, T&T, Barbados, US Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe




Sunday July 14;

Guadeloupe v Barbados, 5.30pm

Martinique v US Virgin Islands, 7.30pm


Monday July 15:

Guadeloupe v US Virgin Islands, 5pm

Martinique v T&T, 7pm


Tuesday July 16:

T&T v Guadeloupe, 5pm

US Virgin Islands v Barbados, 7pm


Wednesday July 17:

Barbados v T&T, 5pm

Martinique v Guadeloupe, 7pm


Thursday July 18:

T&T v US Virgin Islands, 5pm

Martinique v Barbados, 7pm


Friday July 19:


1st v 4th, 5pm

2nd v 3rd, 7pm

 Saturday July 20:

Third place match, 5.30pm

Gold medal match, 7.30pm


CAZOVA U-20 Past Podiums


Host                 Year     Gold     Silver    Bronze

Barbados          1997     TRI       BAR      JAM

Jamaica            1999     AHO     BAR      JAM

Suriname          2001     TRI       AHO     BAH

Martinique         2003     TRI       AHO     MQE

Trinidad            2005     TRI       BAH      JAM

US V. Islands     2007     TRI       AHO     SUR

Guadeloupe       2009     GPE      TRI       BAH

US V. Islands     2011     TRI       ISV       CUR