Africa’s representatives to the forthcoming U-18 and U-19 World Volleyball Championships have assured Africans memorable outings
Nigeria’s male and female teams are to represent the continent at the tournaments scheduled to hold in Mexico and Iran respectively, beginning from this month to September.
Speaking at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna, where both teams are presently camping, chairman, caretaker committee of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Musa Nimrod, said he had confidence in the quality of players assembled.
“Both teams are going for the world championship; the U-18 players going to Mexico by the end of September while U-19 will be going to Iran for the world championship on August 19.”You can see they are young boys and girls and would represent the country well. The coaches have put in their best and as a federation we are doing our best to assist the government.
“The U-19 boys are leaving on 19th August and are only going with the coaches for lack of funds. The only resources available, we had to channel into the players and coaches. So far, we have finished all arrangements for the U-19,” he said.
He explained that currently, Nigeria is leading Volleyball ranking in Africa, alongside Egypt, followed by Cameroon. “Nigeria is strong and other countries are scared of us in Africa,” he said.
On the present players, he said the NVBF had to scout for them far from the zonal competition recently held across the country.
“We went down to the zones, put in resources and came up with brand new female U-18 players. I stand by the female U-18 players because we look forward to a brand new national team. A lot of them started from the National Youth Games (NYG). We are glad we stood our ground that NYG should feature only U-15 and it has paid off,” he added.
He appealed to corporate organisations and public spirited individuals to come and support the teams, stressing that “Even the tickets are expensive, none is cheap, with support, Nigeria will do better.
“The head coach of the U-19 team, Sani Mohammed Musa said as African champions, they are set to take on the world.”We are African champions back-to-back so we hope to surpass our 2019 record. We will leave on Thursday, for now our camp is good, no injuries, the children are disciplined, no cases of indiscipline,” he added.
Assistant coach of female U-18, Rakiya Mohammed, also stated the team is prepared for the competition.
“We are very prepared for this tournament due to the support given to us and early camping. We are not only representing Nigeria, but Africa and are morally sound. Seventy per cent of girls used during the nation’s cup are no longer here, we have groomed taller players that would give us better results,” she said.
Female captain U-18, Onyegwu Unoma Verity said that they have trained and prepared to make Nigeria and their parents proud.
“We have camped for over a month and are 100 per cent ready,” she assured.Male Captain U-19, Jerry Baba Kinze was also optimistic of success. “We are very prepared, we are topping Africa and I want to assure Nigerians that we would make them proud.Tension would surely come, but with the training we have received, we will overcome all tensions,” he assured.