How Life Camp Volleyball Club Is Setting The Pace In Grassroots Volleyball Development In Nigeria
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By Amaechi Agbo
Private ownership of a volleyball club in Nigeria is not common. This is primarily due to the huge capital involvement to run such a project in the country.
However, Life Camp Volleyball Club in Jabi, Abuja, the first and only privately owned volleyball club in the country has been redefining volleyball private ownership and grassroots development with articulated programmes.
One of such programmes is the Life Camp Volleyball Club Championship, a traditional end-of-the-year competition that brings to an end all actives of the club each year.
The competition which has spanned six years – from 2014 till date – was held between December 16 and 18, 2022. Team White won both male and female categories.
The final played on Sunday December 18 saw prominent individuals both in politics and sports grace the tournament despite the two final matches coinciding with the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The World Cup final between Argentina and France kicked off by 4pm, same time as the Life Camp Volleyball Club Championship. But prominent personalities who love football very much, ignored the World Cup final to honour the volleyball tournament held at Jabi Lake Park, Abuja.
Dignitaries present at the 6th In-House Volleyball Tournament organised by Life Camp Volleyball Club includes: Dr Babangida Aliyu – former Governor of Niger State; Sen Olubunmi Olujimi: Sen Shehu Sani – former senator representing Kaduna Central District at the National Assembly; former minister of sports, Eng Sani Ndanusa; Nigeria Volleyball Federation President, Engr. Musa Nimrod; Commodore Aliyu Pindar, Chairman, FCT Volleyball Association, among others.
Their presence at the final justified the huge interest the Life Camp Volleyball Club Championship has generated over the past years.
The six teams that came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each categories shared ₦440, 000 total prize money, a board member of the club and Chairman Technical Committee, Arc. Adamu Tanimu told our correspondent that the club is the pace setter in establishing privately sponsored volleyball club in the country.
While going back memory lane to recreate the foundation of the Life Camp Volleyball Club Abuja, he enumerated it’s achievements which include the qualification of the club to the Nigeria Volleyball Premier League, sustaining the annual competition for the past six years as the in-roads the club has made within a short time.
He mentioned key challenges facing the club as funding/Sponsorship, publicity, among others.
Below are excerpts from our correspondent’s interaction with Arc. Adamu Tanimu:
In the Beginning
The Life Camp Volleyball Club 6th In-house Competition is a traditional end-of-the-year competition which brings us to the end of all activities as far as 2022 is concerned.
Life Camp Volleyball Club stared by some group of players that have played the game to national level from across the country here in Abuja so that we find a platform where after we have retired from active volleyball, play the game at our own pace. It is also in consideration of the need to establish a private volleyball platform that will encourage individuals to come and support the volleyball federation so that we reach our ultimate objective of representing the country internationally.
We involve several people such that Life Camp Volleyball Club has become a household name in the country. Mark you, Life Camp Volleyball Club is the only privately sponsored volleyball club in the country that has a team in the Premier League, has a playing ground that is of standard as far as outdoor volleyball is concerned globally.
In any human endeavour, you can but not do without challenges. Like I said, this is the single privately owned volleyball club in the country and is taking volleyball to this level. Of course, supporting such kind of club with the facilities that you can see needs funding and that is why you don’t normally see this kind of facilities all over the country except those established by government. Funding is the number one challenge.
Trying to support the government’s intention of bringing the youth out of their conundrum so that their interest now come into sports and they develop themselves, intellect and become proper better Nigerian is also a difficulty.
Publicity is also there. We are finding it very difficult to get all over the country so that volleyball becomes that number one sport in the country, is a challenge.
Other than that, of course, we have so few minor challenges that are purely inward. How we administer ourselves and get ourselves to that practice of best club management, especially volleyball club that is found all over the world.
Naming 2022 Competition after Nigeria Volleyball Federation President
Volleyball has been facing numerous challenges within the past years but the coming of the current president into the federation, we realized that there are so many innovations that are bringing the volleyball community in the country together which is improving our performance outrightly internationally. Therefore, such kind of individual needs to be encouraged, supported and be giving the right credit where they deserve it the more so that we will be able to bring in those ones that are sitting on the fence so that they will be able to take this our volleyball into that level we are thinking of.
Promotion To The Premier League
All the clubs that are playing in the Premier League are either owned by one corporate, some how, a government organization or mostly paramilitary organisations. So we have become the pace setters so that other individuals that are out there, can come in and set such kind of project towards competing in the premier league.
That will boost our performance internationally as a country, in terms of volleyball competitions. That is our aim and how we think we can sustain this project towards achieving that our ultimate aim of being the premier privately owned volleyball club in the country.
Appeal For Sponsorship
Volleyball Club is a capital intensive project especially at private level. We are doing our best, we took the challenge to get the club promoted to the Volleyball Premier League. After achieving that, we now need more funding to sustain the club up there.
One of the things that we see as prime challenge is funding. To tackle this challenge, we have to think inward and from there look outward to highly spirited individuals and corporate organisations to come to our aid by sponsoring some of these competitions that we are getting into. We need sponsors, support to remain up there in the league.