Nigeria’s Volleyball Teams Get Automatic Qualification For African Games

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Automatic Qualification For African Games
Nigeria’s Volleyball Teams Get Automatic Qualification For African Games

Nigeria’s Volleyball Teams Get Automatic Qualification For African Games—-The Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVF) on Friday said the country’s male and female volleyball teams had qualified for the 13th edition of the Ghana 2024 African Games.

The Technical Director of the federation, Martin Melandi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the National Stadium Surulere Lagos.

He said the automatic qualification was due to the failure of Benin Republic to honour its match engagements.

He said the inability of Benin Republic to fund travel expenses of its teams was given as reason for not honouring the engagements.

“This is Zone three for West Africa. We were supposed to play against Benin Republic, we got their assurance but they withdrew at last minute.

“Ali Yaro, Zonal President of West Africa, has written to the Confederation of African Volleyball that Nigeria’s volleyball teams have qualified automatically.

“So, we had to organise exhibition matches for them with some selected Lagos players. This is their first game since they entered camp, I’m optimistic that with subsequent friendlies they will perform well,” he said.

NAN reports that the men’s team led by Moses Gana defeated Lagos State selected volleyball team 3-0 in a best of three games 30-28, 25-21, 25-22.

Gana told NAN that his was certain subsequent matches would be tough for the team’s opponents.

Gana, who was named captain of the team, said he was not under pressure.

“All we want to do is win, I’m glad we won against Lagos with a narrow margin, which I believe is as a result of the fact that this is our first match since we entered camp.

“There’s no pressure at all being the captain of the senior team, it doesn’t put me under any pressure. I captained my local team for 10 years and I captained the U-21 national team. So it’s a familiar terrain.

“There has been tremendous development in volleyball since 2021, I believe my team and I will perform optimally,” Gana said.

NAN reports that the 2024 Ghana Africa Games is scheduled to start from March 8 to March 23.

This is the second time in history that the games will be decentralised, as three cities in one country will host the event.

The three cities chosen for these functions are Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast.

The Head Coach of the Men’s team, Musa Baba-Musa, said he would have preferred if Benin Republic had played the matches.

He reiterated his confidence in his team and their ability to make the country proud at the African Games.

“I wish they were able to make the trip, that would have further helped us assess the players in a more competitive set up.

“They started slow in this friendly match mainly because this is the first match. We’re still expecting our foreign based players to join the team. I’m optimistic that they will make us all proud in Ghana,” he said.

Ijeoma Ukpabi, the captain of the women’s team said she was optimistic that the team would do the country proud at the games.

“We’re training hard. This is the first time we’re having a blend of the young and old in the team, so the girls are pumped up and ready.

“We have a great bond, we’ve played together in several tournaments. So, we understand one another on the court, we just have few new players and they are blending in well,” she said.

NAN reports that the women’s team defeated Lagos State’s selected players 3-0, 25-9,25-10 and 25-12.

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