ABUJA – Coach Chakuma Ismail of the national under-17 male and female beach volleyball teams on Thursday in Abuja said his players looked promising ahead of the 2014 Youth Olympics Games (YOG).
Ismail told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), after the teams’ morning training session at the Jabi Lake, that the situation in camp was encouraging.
He said this submission was because the players were responding well to training.
“This is the second day in camp and the situation is good, because we have good accommodation and feeding. Most of the players also turned up on time.
“But I believe it would have been better if the remaining two players are here to increase competition for places in the final squad.
“All the same, the players are young and they look promising. This is because, with the little time we have had since yesterday (Wednesday) when we started training, they have proven to be committed,’’ the coach said.
The teams are preparing for the second edition of the YOG scheduled to hold at Nanjing in China from Aug. 16 to Aug. 28.
Ismail had invited eight players to camp, four male and four female, to fight for two shirts each in each of the two categories.
The male players are Morris Samuel, Obayemi Ogunshina, Peter Ibrahim and Akande Philip, while the female players are Hajara Audu, Jummai Bitrus, Tochukwu Nnorgu and Francisca Ikedia.
As at the second day of training on Thursday, all the male players were in camp, with only Bitrus and Ikedia yet to report.
Ismail said the camping should have commenced earlier than now to allow for good preparations towards the Games.
“The camping did not start early enough, because we will now be having just 10 to 11 days and it is not enough to prepare a team for the Olympics. It should have commenced earlier than this.
“The days of quality training which we will now have are just eight days. But because the players are young and committed, the training will have to be combined now.
“We will have to combine the physical and technical training, because we can’t set some days aside for specific tasks. There is no time for that.
“If we were to follow it as it ought to be, we will be leaving for the YOG without full preparations,’’ he said.
Ismail, however, decried the teams’ inability to participate in the Federal of International Volleyball (FIVB) U-17 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Mexico earlier this month.
“I thought the World Championships in Mexico would have been a good opportunity to evaluate the players, but it is unfortunate that we were not able to go.
“Personally as the coach, it has affected me. But I have to encourage the players, because I am a father.
“The players felt it and they were all in tears, because they felt they should have gone there and learn more skills.
“Also, that would have given us an opportunity to know where and where to work on now.
“This is because most of the teams at Mexico will be at the YOG. So, if our teams were to be there, we would have known the strengths and weaknesses of the teams we will meet.
“But now we are going there blindly. Had it been that we were there, the players would have been in different shape now.
“But I am still working on their psychology to prepare them for the Games,’’ Ismail told NAN.
Both teams were supposed to represent Nigeria at the FIVB U-17 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Mexico but had hitches in their travel arrangement.
Nigeria is one of the 204 countries scheduled to participate at YOG, with beach volleyball being one of the 28 sports to be competed for by the athletes.(NAN)