The declining state at which young Nigerian females takes to sports in the country in recent times will soon become a thing of the past, as the vice president of the Nigerian volleyball federation Professor Florence Adeyanju has began her “Girls with big dreams” junior volleyball competition in Abuja.
The competition which is aimed at discovering young females at the grassroots started with its maiden edition taking place in in Abuja with eight different teams participating.
Participating teams included – Rubicon’s of Karu, Junior braves of Jikwoyi, Junior NY of Nyanya, scorpion spikers academy, De Royals, Rising stars, Zuma Spikers and Team Mernard.
Junior braves of Jikwoyi were the team to beat after they defeated Scorpion spikers academy 10-8 10-3 in straight sets to emerge as champions of the very first edition of the “Girl’s with big dreams junior volleyball competition while the third place match was decided when team Rubicon made light walk of their opponent NY Nyanya 10-6 10-6 to finish third.
Speaking shortly after the match, Professor Adeyanju said the rationale behind the competition was to discover more females at the grassroots, even as she believed that girls have been missing out in sports in recent times in the country.
Professor Adeyanju called on parents to encourage and release their girls.
According to her, “I’m motivated by the fact that researches have shown that girls have been missing out in sports and we cannot get them to the peak if we cannot develop them at the grassroots. So as the vice president of the Nigerian volleyball federation, I’ve come here to the grassroots to pull out the young girls & train them & today, they had their competition & to the glory of God i could see smiles on the faces of the children”
“I’ ll also continue to plead with the parents to encourage their girls, then we’ll look for sponsors to sustain the competition because its not easy to sponsor such a competition. We had to do so many things to make this day a reality. So if we have sponsors, we can have this competition in various places across the country and not only in specific areas.
“Karu is densely populated and we have so many of the girl’s within this area. The more reason we didn’t do it in Abuja is that Abuja is more for the elites but here we have real grassroots potentials. We want to train them, we want to make sure that they have the skills & as they’re improving, at least they’ll be able to play for the nation.”
Meanwhile, coach of the Junior braves, Coach Joel John Pada, expressed satisfaction with the performance of his team, stressing that the win was purely a reflection of what his team had been thought. He also called for more of such programs to be organised regularly that will encourage the discovery of young athletes at young age.
The most valuable player (MVP) of the tournament, Nana Aisha Sadiq, of De Royals said she felt elated and highly motivated to continue with the sport, promising to take her game beyond the grassroots to the international level.