In sports, there are great names and faces that come to mind each time a particular code is mentioned. For volleyball, there’s one team that comes to mind – Vava!
Vava are initials for Vabukori Amateur Volleyball Association. The name came to light in recent times after its men’s volleyball team rose to glory after winning the national championships at the old Sir John Guise Indoor Complex.
It was a game that saw the Vava men in the open division trailing two nil down unleashed its strike weapon in young Ravu Mahuru from the bench into the attack from the back court, outside the 3 meter line. Young Ravu and his men moved on to secure the title for the last 14 years running! A record that waits challenged by those who dare.
This year the title showdown goes to Lae, Morobe province. Matches for the Under 21 are already underway and end on Friday, November 7th, 2019, while the Open Division begins and ends on Sunday.
Back in Port Moresby, at one particular corner where a road meets a sleepy shore side motuan village, the hard work is put in. In centre village, the sand dressed with coal tar paved court, the Vava senior mens team run their final drills ahead of their departure to Lae to defend the title for the 15th time.
As an association, it struggled this year to find its feet earlier on with in house issues. This was quietly solved with an interim appointment which saw the association start its games late. Now with all this put behind their back, they are out defend once more.
“I’m really confident with my boys… (we have) two boys from the (Amoa Team) from the Pacific Games and the new comers promoted from the junior ranks to join the team, plus the experience of the two remaining VAVA senior team members,” said senior player, Gia Kapa, who has been in the team for 13 years as the first choice setter.
Vava goes to the National Titles with an obvious face missing in its team, former PNG national team – Amoa and Vava Captain, Ravu Mahuru. The late Ravu passed away on the eve of the 2019 Pacific Games.
“Definitely during the national championships we have to pay tribute to him because he was a great player,” PNG Volleyball Federation President, Kila Dick, stated paying his respect to the former great.
“This game, we are going to dedicate it to our former captain, late Ravu,” added fellow player, Gia Kapa.
This is not the first time the team has suffered a loss. In 2014 it lost one of its coach in Tom Liu, who was also former national coach on the eve of the 2015 Pacific Games.
“I do believe that there are so many good associations out there,” said current Vava coach, Sepa Philip.
The team believes it still has what it takes to be number one.
“They’re all willing to grab it off from us but we are prepared to defend the title,” Sepa commented.
By Bradley Valenaki – EMTV News, Port Moresby