Nigeria Emerges Champions of 2023 African Zone 3 U-21 Volleyball Nations Championship
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By Dare Kuti
Nigeria on Sunday defeated rivals, Ghana to lift the women’s trophy at the ongoing 2023 African U21 Nations Volleyball Championship Zone 3 in Niamey, Niger Republic
Team Nigeria went through the entire tournament without dropping a single set to be crowned champions while beating Ghana twice in the mix.
The girls eased past local rivals Ghana in their first match of the tournament with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-8) win. They continued their winning run in their second match against hosts Niger, winning 3-0 (25-4, 25-11, 25-4).
Coach Rakiya Mohammed’s team swept aside Benin Republic with a dominant display in their third match, claiming a 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-9) win to secure a rematch against Ghana in the final.
The final was one-sided like the previous meeting between both sides as Team Nigeria prevailed with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-10) win to secure the title in Niger. Nigeria’s Aliyat Usman was voted MVP of the Match.
Head coach of Nigeria U21 women’s team, Rakiya Mohammed expressed her happiness over the victory of the team.
“I am the happiest coach on earth today because this is the first time Nigeria is picking a trophy in the under aged championship so I feel so happy. The Ghanaians came all out to play the Nigerian team but the girls showed them that Khaki no be leather.
That’s how we played and defeated them and we’ve lifted the trophy and we are taking it back to Nigeria and also we’ve qualified for the world championship in Thailand”, an elated Mohammed expressed.
“I told them that Ghana played us first, and the second time that we are meeting, it’s going to be difficult. They’re going to push, so we should push more than the first time we played them, and that is exactly what the girls did.
Both in defence, in attack, in blocks and in service, Nigerian girls were wonderful” remarked Nigeria’s U21 volleyball coach.