President of Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Engr Musa Nimrod, has said that he is optimistic that Nigeria will excel in the 17th African U-21 Men’s Volleyball Championship slated to kick off tomorrow at the Package B of the National Stadium, Abuja.

A total of eight countries, including host Nigeria and defending champions Egypt, would participate in the 10-day event. Other countries are Congo, Chad, Rwanda, Morocco, Tunisia and Cameroon.

Briefingnewsmen yesterday in Abuja ahead of the event, NVBF boss said that, already, some countries have arrived while others are expected arrive before the technical meeting slated to hold today, September 11, 2018.

He said 12 countries indicated interest to participate in the championship but only eight teams had so far sent their entries for the seven-day tournament starting from September 12-19, 2018 while all the participating teams are expected to leave the country on September 20, 2018.

He said, “Egypt is the defending champions, but we beat them in Algiers 3-2 to clinch gold medal and qualification to the 2019 FIVB U-19 World Boys’ Championship in Iran. We also defeated Tunisia in the quarterfinals and Algeria in the semi-finals. I am looking forward to a repeat of such dominance here in Abuja.

“So I’m confident that, with the amount of preparations we’ve had and the zeal and commitment of the players we have, we will be able to replicate the feat. We are hosting to win.

“The focus of this current board of NVBF is on grassroots and youth development and that was why we disbanded senior national team to build young teams,” he said.

The continental showpiece in Abuja will also serve as qualifiers for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U-21 World Championships to be staged Bahrain.