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Army chief rues volleyball’s decline, wants national league


Gen. Usman Yusuf.

Gen. Usman Yusuf.

Volleyball enthusiast and Commander Second Division Garrison, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Brig. Gen. Usman Yusuf, has called on the Nigerian Volleyball Federation to institute a national league for the game to help it grow and earn Olympic qualification.

The Army chief, who plays the game for leisure, said in Ibadan while reacting to Team Nigeria’s poor outing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, said the haphazard way the country handles its preparations for major competitions would always be an albatross on its success.

“It is all about early preparation and approach… we cannot be organizing National Sports Festivals and after the festival everybody goes back to his home and nobody monitors whatever talents discovered there and when it is time for Olympics, you gather players together and expects them to qualify for the games. No, we cannot succeed that way.

“The way the football league is being played across the nation is the way volleyball is supposed to be played, just like basketball is doing.

“From there we can select a team and camp them, put them under a good coach that have great understanding of the game and capabilities of each players.

That is how we can make it.

“If we still follow the haphazard way we handle our preparations, we will never make it. I know we have the talents that could take us there because I have played with a lot of volleyball players across the country and I know their capabilities.”

General Yusuf said he saw the high standard of volleyball live at the Olympics, adding that the pattern of play, however, was not very different from what obtains in Nigeria. “But the difference is playing consistently and being in camp early and in right condition for the players to be able to compete anywhere. We have the right players that can compete well in any part of the world, even at the Olympics, but what we need is good preparation and good supports,” Gen. Yusuf noted.

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