Nigeria have secured a place at the 2019 Beach Volleyball World Championship taking place in Germany in June by recording a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) quarterfinal victory over Niger Republic in the female category at the ongoing Africa Beach Volleyball Cup Seniors in Abuja.
Tochukwu Nnoruga and Fransica Ikhiede combined to secure a closely fought victory over the Nigerien duo of Rakatou Seydou and Roukaya Garba in front of cheering fans at the Jabi Lake, venue of the tournament on Thursday.
Speaking after the game, national team coach of the Nigerian volleyball team, Francis Imoudo, commended the girls on their victory, saying that securing a World Cup berth was as important as winning the championship.
“The game was explosive because we desired a qualification ticket. People get to misunderstand the concept of this competition: it is not [just about] winning the cup; every team wants to make sure that they are in the World Cup, that is why we supported Sierra Leone to clinch the other ticket so that West Africa will have at least a nation in the World Championship.”
On his part, President of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Musa Nimrod said leveraging on home support in order to qualify for the World Cup was one of the rationales behind Nigeria hosting the African Cup Seniors.
“Qualifying to the World Championship is what we have been looking forward for; because it is one of the reasons we are hosting the games,” he said.
However it wasn’t all good news for Nigeria as the male team fell in the quarterfinals to the top-ranked Mozambique male team 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) on Thursday.
Imoudo said the men lost to a formidable opponent and praised their efforts against Africa’s number one ranked team.
“Mozambique is currently the number one team in Africa and they have played together for nine year,” Imoudu said.
“I am a coach, I accept defeat because our opponents team had gone to World Cup Championship. I need to work more on my team because we have a championship in Cape Verde and the Africa Games in Morocco.”
2019 Africa Beach Volleyball Seniors Cup Day 2 Results.
Nigeria 0-2 Mozambique (16-21, 15-21) Angola 0-2 Morocco (10-21, 13-21) Rwanda 2-0 South Africa (21-18, 21-17) Mauritius 1-2 Sierra Leone (21-15, 18-21, 13-15)
Egypt 2-0 Morocco (21-11, 21-15) Mauritius v Mozambique 2-1 (14-21, 21-14, 15-13)
Nigeria 2-0 Niger Republic (21-18, 21-16) Rwanda 2-0 Botswana (21-9, 21-10)