Nigeria national men’s volleyball team will on Wednesday evening (today) file out against Cameroon in the 2017 Africa Nations Men’s Volleyball Championship in a bid to recover grounds for inclusion in the knock out stage for qualification to the 2018 Volleyball World Cup.
Nigeria is in a three-nation pool with host Morocco and Cameroon at the championship holding at the Cairo Stadium, Egypt.
The game against Cameroon which was supposed to be Nigeria’s first match was shifted from October 22th to 25th following Nigeria’s late arrival to the tournament.
The team was expected to be in Egypt on October 20 ahead of the October 22 opening game against Cameroon but turned up late due to problems with their flight schedule and was saved from being walked over following an appeal to the Confederation of Africa Volleyball (CAVB) by the former president of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation, Engr Habu Gumel who is also the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee and member of the IOC Executive Committee.
The Nigerian team coached by ex-International Japheth Nuhu with Sam Ajayi as assistant opened their campaign with their second match in the fixture on Tuesday evening, losing 1-3 (26-24; 20-25; 17-25 and 22-25) to Morocco.
The Cameroonians have earlier defeated the Moroccans and Nigeria needs to beat Cameroon by 3-0 to be able to snatch the sole ticket of the pool to the world meet.
Former national player and ex-coach of Oyo State Volleyball, Ayo Adewoye, has however called on the players to keep positive and focused on victory against Camerooon, saying it is a high possibility.
“Our Team should remain focused for the match. Every team is deemed a winner until the end of the competition. Let them be more optimistic and their efforts shall be rewarded at the end,” Adewoye admonished the team.
The two best teams from each of the four pools qualify for the quarterfinals of the African nations from which the top three teams shall earn ticket to the World Cup.
The 2018 Volleyball World Cup shall be co-hosted by Italy and Bulgaria from September 10 with the finals fixed for Turin on September 30. Already, Poland has qualified as defending champions alongside the two co-hosts.
The women version of the event is also billed for September 29 to October 20 in Japan.