Nigeria’s U19 volleyball boys team retained their title as champions of Africa with an effortless victory over Morocco at the just concluded 2021 African Nations Volleyball Championship in Abuja on Monday.
The Nigerians were brilliant in the first set, pummeling the Moroccans 25-8 points and controlled the rest of the match to win 3-0 (25-8, 25-21, 25-23).
Speaking on his side’s victory, head coach Sani Mohammed raised his players’ in-game management and resourcefulness in what was a first international competition for the players.
“This is the first time any of these boys will be partaking in any international tournament [and] they were able to adjust their style of game after their victory over Gambia and you all saw the result against Morocco,” Mohammed said.
Looking ahead to the future, Sani stressed the need for early preparations of his wards ahead of the World Youth Championship in Iran.
“I am appealing to the Nigeria Volleyball Federation to put us in camp for a minimum of four months before the World Championship in Iran,” he said.
“We had a successful camping before the Nations Championship and I am certain we will get the best ahead of the world tournament. I will love the players to be in camp at least four months before the World Championship.”
On his part, Nigeria Volleyball Federation president Musa Nimrod commended all the participating teams, saying the tournament was proof of the rapid development of volleyball at age-grade level.
Nigeria finished as the top-ranked team with Cameroon followed as runners up. Both countries qualify for the 2021 FIVB U19 World Championship in Iran.
Under-19 Boys individual awards
Best Server: Pascal Ozokonye (Nigeria); Best Reception: Mohammed Reda (Morocco); Best Blocker: Sheikh Colley (Gambia); Best Spiker: Ousseni Isa (Cameroon); Best Digger: Lawal Babatunde (Nigeria); Best Setter: Jeremiah Alexander (Nigeria); and MVP: Kavogo Yaoussia (Cameroon).
U18 Girls individual awards
MVP: Fasso Nguemtchueng (Cameroon); Best Blocker: Blessing Unekwe (Nigeria); Best Setter: Elezabilah Leititia (Cameroon); Best Digger: Nqbyong Laure (Cameroon); Best Reception: Omoshola Sofiat (Nigeria); Best Server: Bedian Mpson (Cameroon); and Best Spiker: Thombeso Iohejoan (Cameroon).