The Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF) says the nation’s contingent to the Africa Games (AG) Zonal qualifiers in Abidjan is a brand new national team for the competition.
The Technical Director of NVBF, Mr Martins Melandie, made the assertion as the contingent departed for Abidjan on Thursday from Kaduna where the team camped.
“The team is departing tomorrow (Friday). They will leave Kaduna tomorrow by train for Abuja from where they will take a flight to Abidjan,” he added.
“We have a new senior volleyball team for men. The expectations is to go and pick up the only ticket we have in Zone 3,” he said.
The technical director said that Nigeria had never failed to secure the ticket, and this time will not be an exception
“In the history of the competition, we have been picking up ticket and this time we hope to do the same,” he assured.
He explained that as part of activities to fine tune their final preparations in camp for AG zonal qualification, they have played several friendly matches.
“We are rounding up today with 14 players in camp out of the 30 invited when the camp started,” he said.
He said that they were able to bring in three players to beef up the team, one of whom is a Canada-based.
He also said that they were going all out to qualify and contest to win medals at the AG.
“Since 2003, we have not picked a medal from African Games volleyball event, so we hope to win a medal,” he said.
On the sponsorship of the team, he said that NVBF was solely responsible.
“The federation under Musa Nimrod is sponsoring the camping and trip to Abidjan.
The Nigeria senior volleyball team head coach, Japhet Nuhu, said the players were well motivated and ready to do the country round.
“With what we have displayed so far in friendly matches played, I believe our game will improve.
“We will do our best and we need prayers from Nigerians so that we can make us all proud by claiming the only available ticket,” he said.
Canada-based Uchenna Chinedu Ofoha, says playing for Nigeria is a dream come true.
The 24-year-old said he was proud to represent Nigeria, in spite of being born in Canada.
“It feels great to represent my country. I am proud of playing for Nigeria. Both my parents are Nigerians and I love my country,” he said.
He said it won’t be the first time he was playing in hot weather.
“I have played in hot weather before, played beach volleyball before, which is always in hot weather, and will just need to drink a lot of water.
“The team is great. Being here for just three days, I’m already blending. What remains is the chemistry for us to become unbeatable,” he said.