Volleyball: UTB turn focus to Rutsindura memory tourney

UTB women volleyball players celebrate after beating Rwanda Revenue Authority to win the 2018-19 league title at Amahoro Stadium on Sunday. Courtesy.

Following their triumphant league season where they clinched the title on their first attempt, UTB women volleyball team have turned focus to winning this year’s Rutsindura memorial tournament – also on first attempt.

The two-day tournament will be staged this weekend, June 22-23, at Petit Séminaire Virgo Fidelis in Huye District.

The Kicukiro-based side clinched the 2018/2019 women’s league title on Sunday as they put end to Rwanda Revenue Authority’s (RRA) seven-year dominance. Before Sunday, the tax collectors were the reigning champions since 2013.

UTB beat RRA in two games – in the best-of-three playoffs finals – to be crowned at Amahoro Stadium, and head coach Sylvestre Mbanza is confident “This is only the beginning.”

“We want to win titles of every competition we engage in this season and, this is only the beginning.

With time, we will build a team that can compete against the best in the region – and beyond,” Mbanza told Times Sport on Wednesday.

In February this year, UTB edged RRA to lift the title of this year’s Kayumba memorial tourney and had previously humbled the same opponents to claim the preseason tournament.

The annual event, Rutsindura Memorial Tournament, is held in honour of Alphonse Rutsindura, a former national team player and coach who was killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He is widely regarded as an icon of his generation.

Rwanda Energy Group (men) and APR (women) are title holders, having beaten APR (men) and Rwanda Revenue Authority (women) in last year’s finals, respectively.

By winning the league title, UTB also automatically qualified to represent the country at the 2020 CAVB Women’s African Club Championships.

By press time Wednesday, organisers of the tournament were yet to confirm the final list of teams that would take part.

The competition comprises three main categories; juniors, professionals and veterans.