*Sweat it out at Kaduna 3-day open camp
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A total of 205 young volleyball stars from all over Nigeria are are the Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna on a three days trial, jostling to be called to the national U-17 team.
When sports writers visited the camp yesterday, Technical Director of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Mr. Martins Melandi, disclosed that they were there for U-17 Boys and Girls Open Camp to showcase their talents.
“As they are playing, the coaches are doing selection for potential national team call up,”” he added.
According to him, CAVB gave Nigeria hosting rights of U-17 competition and it was initially billed for June, but has been shifted to September, hence they are scouting for fresh players that would make Nigeria proud.
“As at yesterday, we had 145 boys and 60 girls. We have done screening to screen out over aged players and those their heights are not okay. We are doing second screening to see them play,” he said.
According to him, he is impressed so far with the level of skills displayed by some of them.
“That is why we have to put everybody on court to select the best,” he explained.
The NVBF Technical Director disclosed that after the three days camp, they are expected to select 25 boys and same number of girls, which would be called to camp subsequently.
He further explained that the players came from all over Nigeria, are been accommodated and fed by the federation, adding that at the end of it all, they would each be given transport allowances when going back
On expectations from the new administration inaugurated on Monday, he said it looks promising for sports development.
“We expect their support not to only footballs, but all sports. Volleyball is coming up strong. We have two international competitions in August. We are supposed to go on foreign training tour but no funds, so we need support in such areas,” he said.
Also speaking, Head Coach Boys National U-17, Coach Suleiman Olayinka Ajeigbe said that they have their eyes wide open to ensure only the best players are selected from the open camp.
“We need to look at the technical input and height, as well as skills in them while selecting. We have to give everybody level playing ground.
“We are at screening stage, not selection camp. We have to look at those that are above average so that in the next two weeks, we invite them,” he added
For the Female U-17 coach, Sunday Yunana Akapson, he described talents sighted sonfar, as encouraging.
“The open camp is very encouraging. I know we have to work hard to pick the best. The primary way so far is that the players are interested to play. They have the interest. The bulk of the work now is on our technical expertise,” he said.
One of the female players who spoke to sportswriters, Pamela Bawa from Plateau State, residing in Abuja, said that she feels at home because they have helped her improve her game and instill discipline
“You also feel encouraged because you make new friends. I am not 100 per cent sure I would be selected but I am hopeful,” she opened up.
Also speaking, male player, Kazeem Mutiu Olawale a 16-year old, said that his height gives him added advantage.
“I will work hard and do my best to be selected. I want to play international competitions in future and this is just the perfect opportunity to launch a career,” the SS 2 student added.