The Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF) is planning a train-the-trainer programme for school games masters and mistresses. The programme is aimed to further popularise the sport.
The federation’s President, Habu Gumel, said at the handing-over ceremony of nets and balls to secondary schools in the FCT at the volleyball courts of the Abuja National Stadium that the programme was going to be a follow-up to the ``Volleyball Catch Them Young Schools Programme’’ which brought about the distribution of equipment. `This programme will be conducted by a trainer from the world governing body, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
``This will further enhance the playing of volleyball in our schools. From there, more talents shall be discovered and nurtured,’’ Gumel said.
He said launching the youth programme was part of NVBF’s strategy to fast-track volleyball’s development in Nigeria. Explaining the rationale behind the equipment distribution, the NVBF president said the federation’s ultimate aim in conjunction with the FIVB was to make the sport a household event in Nigeria. ``It is an epic journey which we are happy that the FIVB is partnering with us along, and we are hopeful that it will grow stronger over the coming years,’’ he said.
Gumel who dubbed the programme ``Volleyball at School’’ said it was the beginning of a sustainable programme to develop the sport in Nigeria, saying it would introduce it to the youths.
He said it would also help to develop a healthy competition amongst the schools in the states, saying the intention was to create a sports career path for the children. ``Having learnt the volleyball rudiment or foundation at the secondary schools level, many of them will carry this knowledge along into universities, senior volleyball clubs and for participation at the national championships,’’ the NVBF president said.
Gumel said during the first phase of the programme, balls shall be distributed to selected secondary schools all over the country to arouse the game’s interest in the students. ``The required equipment are now available for their use, and we are lucky and happy that the FIVB has done the right thing along this line,’’ he said.
Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi praised the NVBF for the initiative, saying it was right along the thinking line of the National Sports Commission (NSC).
``This aligns with our focus at the NSC, which is to go beyond just attending and organising competitions. We all now must take the sports to the grass root,’’ he said.
The minister said it was noteworthy that the commission and sports federations were establishing the connection between sports and the schools. ``It underlines the fact that education and sports must be significantly connected,’’ he said.
Abdullahi said the qualification of Nigeria’s men basketball team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London should serve as an eye-opener to all Nigerians. ``If basketball can be there in London to be elevated to that level, then volleyball or handball can do it too, and it only needs extra efforts from all of us. With that we can all begin to see new heights for our sports, and I urge us all, especially the students, to utilise the opportunity and make a career for themselves in sports,’’ he said.
Seventeen of the 20 invited schools, drawn from the FCT, received the balls and nets at the ceremony.