Chairman, Nigeria Park Volleyball Commission, Major General Taritimiye Gagariga, has revealed that the Abuja Invitational Volleyball Challenge, billed to hold from March 13 to 19 at Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja, is purely a developmental championship.
Gagariga said the challenge would expose academy players to competitive volleyball outside their comfort zones, noting that various teams that participated in previous editions have joined league clubs.
“This tournament will give young players opportunity to be exposed on a bigger scale. From the first day I started organising this tournament, I have always reiterated it is for grassroots. The Abuja Invitational Volleyball Challenge is no longer an open championship, which we did in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“The rules changed in 2021, when the focus became grassroots… the 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 one week. Many teams have begun academies from our challenge, some clubs have graduated to become NVBF Divisions one and two 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 this event,” he said.
Gagariga said the joy of the challenge is in seeing upcoming players showcase their talents for the technical department of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation to identify.
“It is the 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 is to see grassroots players graduate one day to the NVBF leagues or national teams,” he said.