By Afolabi Johnson
Chairman of the Nigeria Park Volleyball Commission, Major General Taritimiye Gagariga, has revealed that the Abuja Invitational Volleyball Challenge which purele developmental programme will attract nothing less than 400 players.
He disclosed that the Volleyball Challenge will start from March 13 at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja and end on the 19th.
He said that the academy players would be exposed to competitive volleyball outside of their comfort zone.
He said, “The volleyball challenge will give young players the simple opportunity to have a wider playing exposure. Since the first time I started organizing this private tournament, I have always reiterated that it was for grassroots.
“The Abuja Invitational Volleyball Challenge is no longer an open championship, which we did from 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Rules changed in 2021 when the focus became grassroots, rules are becoming more stringent and the IVC improves in its purely grassroots mandate.
“It is purely a developmental opportunity for about 450 teeming youths for just 7 days. Many teams have begun academies (the real grassroots) from our challenge, some clubs have graduated to become NVBF Division 1 and 2 teams while other clubs produced players directly into the national teams.”
“We have succeeded in bringing some lesser known teams to compete with clubs whose names appear in the NVBF Premier League. There are so many advantages to what we want to achieve in invitational volleyball challenges,” he added.
According to Gagariga, the challenge is enjoyable since it allows the Nigeria Volleyball Federation’s technical division to recognize young players’ potential.
He said, “It is the volleyball game of upcoming players we want to see; let them play at their level, not comparing them to premiership or league levels.
“Every player at this level is actually not championship graded until the player enters the league, and that is what we also wish to achieve: that grassroots players graduate one day to the NVBF leagues or national teams if invited.”
Gagariga is a board member of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation.