Beach Volleyball

The Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF) said on Sunday in Abuja it has opened camp in Abuja for its male and female under-21 beach volleyball teams. A statement from the Federation said the teams are preparing for the qualifying competition for this year’s World Under-21 Beach Volleyball Championships. The championships known as the FIVB Beach Volleyball Under-21 World Championships is slated for June 13 to June 18 at Nanjing in China. The qualifiers for this championships are scheduled to begin on February 9 in Lome, Togo with the Nigerian teams scheduled to depart Nigeria for Lome on February 8. Habu Gumel, President of NVBF, said the Federation had opened the camp for the two teams since February 1 in view of the importance attached to Nigeria’s qualification. “We have since last week started to prepare for the continental qualifiers, which holds later this week in Lome, Togo. “We have in camp the male and female teams, with each team having six players, to make a total of 12. The camp also has the full complement of technical crew as well as others such as medical and secretariat staff. “With these players and officials, we expect to prepare well to be able to perform well there in Togo because we need to use the world championships to strengthen our teams,’’ he said. Gumel, also a Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said Nigerian teams are well poised to qualify for the world championships. “Our teams are well ranked. The male team are number five in Africa presently, while the female team are number two in Africa, and I think the players are in good form presently to do the country proud in Lome,’’ he said. The NVBF President said the Federation went to the length of preparing the players ahead of the competition so as to strengthen Nigeria’s position in the sport. “We are strong on the continent in beach volleyball and we need to be the strongest and compete among the world’s best. “So, we are hopeful that with qualification for the world championships, we will get better and the sport will grow further in Nigeria,’’ he said.