Nigeria suffered a loss to Brazil in their historic opening match at the Red Bull Beach Arena at the ongoing World Beach Volleyball Championship in Hamburg, Germany.
Making a first-ever appearance at the tournament, 39th seeds Francisca Ikhiede/Tochukwu Nnoruga put up a creditable display but ultimately lost 2-0 (21-11, 21-17) to Brazil duo, Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg in 23 minutes.
Despite the loss, Ikhiede said competing against one of the world’s top teams was a good accomplishment and credited the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF) and the Nigerian government for the opportunity granted the team to compete at Beach Volleyball World Championship for the first time ever.
“We felt so proud and delighted just to be playing against them. We are very excited to be here because it was a challenge for us. We hope that this level of competition and this experience pushes us further.
“We are very thankful that our country allowed us to be here, but it cannot be a one-time thing. We need to be exposed to different weathers, to different opponents, and to different environments and that’s the only way we’ll get better.”
Ikhiede and Nnoruga gave Nigeria a significant presence in Beach Volleyball this year when they qualified for a maiden World Championships. The players booked Nigeria’s spot in Hamburg with a fourth-place finish at the African Nations Beach Volleyball Cup in Abuja.