ABUJA – Nigeria’s women team on Saturday in Abuja failed in the bid to claim Africa’s sole ticket to the beach volleyball event of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Nigeria who are hosting nine other countries at the Jabi Lakeside lost out to Egypt in the semi-finals of the CAVB Continental Cup Women’s Finals, which is Africa’s Olympic qualifier.
The African champions, who had won all their matches in the group stage in Pool A failed to live up to expectations against Egypt, runners-up in Pool B.
In the first match of their semi-final pairing, the pair of Priscilla Agera and Isabella Laju in group one and playing as Nigeria 2 lost 1-2 (19-21, 21-19, 10-15).
They lost to Lamies Nassier and Randa Radwan in group two and Egypt 1.
In the second game, the duo of Tochukwu Nnoruga and Francisca Ikhiede, and Nigeria 1, claimed a 2-0 win (21-15, 21-15) over Egypt’s Doaa Elghobashy and Nada Meawad (Egypt 2).
This led to a golden match to decide winners of the contest between Nigeria and Egypt.
In deciding the Nigerian pair for the golden match, the Nigerian coaching crew decided to change the team, pairing Agera with Nnoruga.
However, the Egyptians stuck to the pair of Elghobashy and Meawad of Egypt 2, and they simply won lost 2-0 (21-12, 21-18).
At the end of the match, Ewsam Meawad, the coach of the Egyptian team, however acknowledged that his team had a tough match.
“Today (Saturday), we had a very difficult match and we won because we played well.
“Our opponents did not play very well, but I still think that they are a strong side.
“However, we thank God we won today and hope to be at the Olympics,’’ he said.
The coaching crew of the Nigerian side, led by Charkuma Ismail, was however not available for their comments immediately after the match.
However, Musa Nimrod, the Chairman of the Beach Volleyball Commission of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), was on hand to offer explanations about Nigeria’s failure.
He said it was sad that the team had to lose.
“We have been doing well, but we lost today. I will say that the day did not favour us.
“We however hope to win in the third-place match tomorrow (Sunday), so that we can participate at the Grand Prix Championship later in the year,’’ Nimrod,
a member of the NVBF board, said.
Nigeria will now take on Mauritius in the third-place match early on Sunday, while Egypt and Rwanda will battle for the sole ticket to the Olympics a little later.
In the other semi-final, Rwanda 1 had beaten Mauritius 2 2-0 (21-05, 21-11), while Rwanda 2 had also beaten Mauritius 1 2-0 (21-15, 21-09).
NAN reports that the event, which started on Thursday, will end on Sunday.(NAN)