By Victor Kanayo
Up to nine countries which had indicated interest to take part in the 2023 Girl’s U17 African Nations Volleyball Championship scheduled for Abuja, Nigeria’s capital have bolted out.
It then means that out of 12 initial nations billed to participate in the event which kicks off on Saturday December 2, only three have showed up as at the time of filling this report, Heritage Times HT reports.
The countries are host Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroon.
According to organisers, the competition happening inside Package B of Moshood Abiola National stadium Abuja will witness Nigeria battling Egypt in their opening encounter by 4pm (Nigerian time).
Egypt will then face Cameroon on Sunday December 3 in the second match of the ongoing Championship.
Talking about why various countries couldn’t attend, the President of Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Engr. Musa Nimrod, attributed the low turnout of teams to logistics issues faced by other sub-saharan countries.
He said, “12 African countries indicated to participate at the 2023 Girl’s U17 African Nations Volleyball Championship but 6 registered. Algeria and Tunisia could not make it due to logistics; that is why we have three teams in this championship.
“The U17 Boy’s championship will be taking place in Libya and some of these North African countries will be in attendance”.
Former Vice President of the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB), Engr. Habu Gumel, said countries on the continent have to make age grade championships their priority if we stand any chances of competing with other continents.
Engr. Gumel said, “I wanted to see a lot of African teams here in Nigeria for the African U17 Girl’s Championship but they could not come due to financial issues. Nevertheless, the CAVB under the leadership of Madam Bouchra Hajij is doing its best and this issue will be discussed at the next board of administration meeting to find ways to ensure African countries participate in other age groups.
“It is our collective duty to ensure we develop volleyball in Africa in order to match other continents”.
In recent times, Nigeria has gradually stepped up in Volleyball competition in Africa with more participation at different levels.