After 36 matches of a challenging 2015-2016 Bundesliga volleyball season, the multiple champions Vfb Friedrichshafen tangled with their archrivals Berlin Recycling Volleys losing 3-1, 3-2, before surrendering their title in a tame 3-0 defeat (26-24, 25-16 and 25-21).
The second match was a tough 5-setter. It was contested in front of a home crowd of some 8120 screaming fans, with the visitors coming out on top with a close 19-17 in the tie-breaker after a flurry of exchanged leads. In the final analysis, the Vfb Friedrichshafen team lost by a mere 29-35 on the points table as the teams shared top honours along the way.
For his efforts young Trinidadian player Marc Anthony Honore was named Most Valuable Player for his team in the three-match finale. It was his second trip to the MVP title for the season.
But the excitement of the match masked the sadness of not only a loss at the end of a hard-fought season, but the final match for long serving coach Romanian Stelian Moculescu, who handed over the reins to the new coach after a long and distinguished career.
It was Moculescu who made the call to have Honore join his ranks back in 2007. He joined the team after his success in the US College career that saw him being named among the top three in the college league.
Honore excelled under coach Moculescu as they won three championships and one Dvv Portal Cup title. They collected all three top leagues on two occasions including the Bundesliga, the CEV Champions League and the DVVPortal.
For Honore, the experiences allowed him to make a sterling contribution to the T&T national team in their quest for honours in the NORCECA Champions and their unsuccessful bid for Olympic glory.
While the local team fell short of its target, Honore went on to earn top honours in the Brazilian league and later joined Benfica in Portugal in achieving their championship goals in 2013 and 2104.
But in a surprise return to the German scene, Honore once more donned the blue and gold colours of the famed Vfb Friedrichshafen club for the 2015-2016 season. It was to be his last showing for the illustrious team. He took up an offer to return to Benfica for another three year contract with an option to renew.
It was goodbye to his friends and colleagues. Though fluent in German, Honore spoke the language of sporting excellence when he took to the court for the final match of the tournament.
His performance was more than noteworthy in appreciation and respect for the coach and the team that launched his professional career nine years ago. Honore was named the Most Valuable Player for the second time in the league. He was certainly on top of his game. He launched into the air with his characteristic leap and executed attack after attack that earned the applause of even some spectators on the other side.
Honore will now move on to his second stint with the Benfica squad in Portugal. He speaks the language. But he will relish the time he spent with the German champions and that final lasting battle that brought the curtain down on his time In that country. For now it’s a move from goodbye in German ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to hello in Portuguese “Ola”
With 14 years on the court his experience make him the longest serving professional volleyball player in the Caribbean and the lone male campaigner on the local scene.
How does he feel about carrying the torch for the sport?
Honore said: “It’s an honour I look forward to leading the effort to develop the sport in the Caribbean. There are many young gifted athletes out there who can excel at this sport once given the chance.”
“There are coaches like the German Molescu and others who appreciate talent. But you have to earn the respect of the players and of the world in general.”
There is an opportunity for the right strategy to be applied, the right combination of natural ability and administrative guidance that will see us creating opportunities for many young men and women to perform with honour for our country.”
The local men’s team is set to compete in Mexico in the upcoming months.No doubt Honore will be among them taking his MVP experience to the court, making his contribution to the team’s efforts. With over 16 years’ experience in the sport, including eight of them at the professional level, he certainly has something to say, in the language of volleyball, to the story of volleyball success for T&T and the rest of the Caribbean.