Board member of Nigeria Volleyball Federation, Major General Taritimiye Gagariga says he is passionate about the growth and development of volleyball at the grassroots level.
Major General Gagariga disclosed this at the end of the three days Kontagora Volleyball Challenge, a grassroots tournament held in the Nigerian Army Cantonment, Kontagora in Niger State from 27th to 31st October 2021.
He revealed that his focus is to ensure youths who are yet to have the opportunity to participate in the centralised top-level volleyball competitions in the Country would have an avenue to play the game in their various localities.
He said, “I am passionate about the growth of volleyball at the lowest level which is the grassroots. No sporting nation can excel without the continuous production of players at the grassroots level.
“All the elite players you see today did not just become star players; they started from the grassroots and this is why my focus is the continued organization of local competitions where new talents are discovered.
“Everyone cannot play in the Nigeria Volleyball Premier League or National Division 1 League; so we commenced the grassroots competition in Nigerian Army School of Artillery Kachia in September 2018.
“We continued in 2019 and the grassroots challenge has visited Zaria, Abuja, Jos and Bauchi where serious competitions were organized and conducted. The Kontagora Challenge is one other opportunity for other volleyball players to showcase their hidden talents. Indeed, we have been able to produce players for the Nigerian National Teams and the Premier League within the 3 years since we began.
“All grassroots players thus look towards participating in the bigger leagues in Nigeria so they take our local challenges seriously as coaches and other technical persons observe them well.”
Maj General Gagariga commended the Nigeria Volleyball Federation led by Engineer Musa Nimrod for creating an enabling environment for the game to thrive.
He said, “Engineer Musa Nimrod has done his possible best for the game of volleyball to become popular in Nigeria and Africa. It is now left for other volleyball philanthropists and enthusiasts to complement what he has started. Together, we can all keep the game alive.”