Mohammed excited to see volleyball return to CAZOVA

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, July 4, 2022 – Mushtaque Mohammed, president of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) says the regional sporting body is very excited about the restart of volleyball after two and a half years in the Caribbean.

Mohammed made this admission in confirming the staging of the CAZOVA Under-19 and 21 Championships at the Southern Regional Indoor Sports Arena in Pleasantville, San Fernando from July 5 to 12.

Mohammed, said, “We decided to start in the youth and junior categories because those are the easier categories in terms of teams readiness while the senior tournaments will be held next year hopefully, and we are also hoping to have the Under-23s in December.”

The trio of the US Virgin Islands, Suriname, and T&T will contest the Under-21 Women’s Championship while the five-team Men’s Under-21 competition will feature T&T, Haiti, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, and Jamaica.

In the Under-19 age group, T&T, Suriname, Martinique, and US Virgin Islands women will face off while T&T and Suriname will contest the men.

The CAZOVA teams are competing to qualify for their respective NORCECA Continental Championship in 2023 which will serve as qualifiers for their FIVB Age Group Championship.

For the Under-19 category, the Under-19 Women’s Continental Championship is carded for February 5-13, 2023 in Puerto Rico with the World Championship set for July 2023 while the Under-19 Men’s Continental Championship comes off in Mexico from March 5-13, 2023 with the World Championship to be staged in August with the host country still to be determined.

In the Under-21 Division, the USA will host the NORCECA Under-21 Women’s Continental Championship from April 16 to 24, 2023 with the world event set for September in a country yet to be finalized while the Under-21 Men’s Continental competition comes off in Cuba from May 7-15 and the World Championship in September also at a venue yet to be named.

With regards to the small number of countries committing to the tournament, Mohammed noted that all the teams who are able to participate are really excited to come to T&T to play these events, but at the same time noted that some of the major powerhouses in the sport won’t be present.

“However, Barbados, who are among the defending champions in the youth and junior categories are not here,  and that has been a challenge as the Bahamas will not be here as well, and Jamaica will only have their Under-21 boys here.”  

A member of the T&T Olympic Committee Mohammed explained, “The challenges are not only limited to finances or readiness in terms of preparation and venue availability but also some of the countries cannot get flights to come to Trinidad because not all of the flights or airlines are operational at present so when we had more flights coming into Trinidad in the past, not all of these have started back operation since the lifting of restrictions brought about by the pandemic.”

“But, with what we have we are going to restart volleyball in CAZOVA and we are really excited that this tournament is going to take place and hopefully be something that we will all be proud of and be something that will re-stimulate volleyball in the Caribbean.”

“Additionally we are hoping to host for the first time in the region beach volleyball and so we are hoping that beach volleyball will also make a positive restart by the end of August, also right here in Trinidad, stated Mohammed, who is also an Executive vice president of the North, Central America and the Caribbean Volleyball Association (NORCECA).

With regard to the preparations for the double-gender tournament which will be the first to be staged by CAZOVA since the coronavirus pandemic in 2019, Daymian Stewart, president of the T&T Volleyball Federation (T&TVF) said they have been forced into a venue change.  

Stewart said, “Initially the T&TVF had hoped to have the tournament at the National Cycling Centre in Balmain, Couva, however, those plans had to be shelved due to the unavailability of the venue as repairs to the air-conditioning system at the Couva facility will not be completed in time to host the tournament.

Stewart added, “Basically we are just working on confirming the venue at Pleasantville as most of the other logistics are in place as well as finalising our transportation for the teams and officials and all personnel involved.

“The only challenge with Pleasantville is that janitorial services on the weekend and we have offered to make our own arrangements where that is concerned so that we can have a smooth flow of the competition,” stated Stewart.

The T&TVF boss added, “We need to do our part to provide positive activities for young people. It’s very hard but it’s worth it when young  Trinbagonians and Caribbean youth get opportunities via sport and this CAZOVA Youth and Junior event could not come at a better time coming out of the pandemic, “ended Stewart.

Participating Teams:

Under-21 Men: TTO, Haiti, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica.

Under-21 Women: TTO, US Virgin Islands, Suriname

Under-19 Men: TTO, Suriname

Under-19 Women: TTO, Suriname, Martinique, US Virgin Islands