The Nigerian side who are the competition’s defending champions beat Cameroon 3-2 in a pulsating match at the indoor hall of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
Nigeria’s under-19 male volleyball team on Thursday fought back from two sets down to record an opening start to the 2020 Under-18 Girls and Under-19 Boys African Nations Volleyball Championship.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Cameroon raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set, after opening scores, before Nigeria overcame the jitters to draw level at 6-6.
It became a ding-dong affair thereafter, with scores at 15-15 and 20-20 later on, before Cameroon broke away to win the opening set 25-21.
In the second set, Nigeria took the lead only to soon fall behind at 8-12, before a resurgence saw them at 13-13, 14-13 and 14-15.
They then plunged to 21-24, before Cameroon went on to win 23-25 for a 2-0 lead that should have dropped all heads in the home team.
From going down 0-3 in the third set, the Nigerian team regrouped, with Alex Jeremiah, Lange Ogunboyejo, Abdul Jaiyeola, Abari Michael, Oyedepo Oyewale and Lawal Babatunde raising their game.
They fought back to draw level at 4-4, before going on to lead 15-13 and later 21-16, 22-20, 24-22 and 25-23 to peg back the Cameroonians.
The Nigerian team got encouraged by the vociferous home support drawn mostly from players and coaches of the Nigerian under-18 female team and the volleyball supporters group’s band.
Nigeria had a good beginning to lead 1-0 and later 6-4, 10-7, 16-11, before breaking away at 20-12 to go on and win 25-14 to draw the game level at 2-2.
The inspiration was now evident for Nigeria to cling on to, especially as Cameroonian heads were dropping, leading 4-3, and then 9-6 and 14-9, before finally winning 15-9.
NAN reports that The Gambia will take on Morocco on Friday in the male competition’s other game.
Nigeria will take on Gambia in their next match on Saturday, while Cameroon will face Morocco the same day.
Four teams are taking part in the competition’s under-19 category.