Captain of Nigeria female Volleyball team, Priscilla Agera has attributed their poor outing at the Africa championship to neglect and poor motivation by the Volleyball Federation.
The Falcons crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon following defeats to Kenya and Tunisia winning one game against Congo DR ending their quest to feature at the 2018 Volleyball World Cup.
In a chat with Aclsports, Agera described the team’s experience in Cameroon as embarrassing.
“It’s was a terrible experience travelling for the first time to a high profile tournament like the World Cup qualifiers. Many teams that competed all went for training tour and it was so shocking that only 7 Nigerian players made it to Yaoundé and without a coach, for whatever reason we don’t know. When we got there, we took up the challenge as Nigerians and fought like a Nigerian with just 7 people, no coach, no substitute.
All other countries appreciated how well we played.If we were complete, we wouldn’t have lost any of our games. Till now, no one has explained why our coach didn’t come with us.”
Agera revealed how she played a role of a player and a coach in all their games.
“It was very tedious. I was doing the job of a player and a technical adviser and no substitute. We missed someone that will do the shouting for us, call us to order when we go wrong. It wasn’t easy even calling time out for ourselves and wasn’t easy combining technical work and playing. We were just like orphans all through our matches,” Agera lamented.
“After our first game, our coach arrived with one player which made us 8 but according to the rules, you can’t compete if you come two days after the opening ceremony even if you are a complete team, no one will play,” she said.
Despite playing with just 7 players, none of the Falcons players sustained any injury all returned healthy unlike other players who suffered severe injuries.
“We won some and lost some not because we couldn’t stand the challenge but volleyball is made up of 14 players and we were just 7 playing against 14 players. I thank God we had no injuries but the other teams that were complete, some players were stretched off and some went for knee surgeries. For us, nothing happened we played all through without substitution.
The Falcons captain disclosed that they are still being owed their allowances and would rather remain in Abuja till something is done about it.
“We just came back and many of us should have gone home but they told us ministry has not released money. We went for the first round of qualifiers and it was the same thing that happened. We have told them we are not leaving till we get our monies. We have been at the stadium all through Wednesday in Abuja.
The technical director told me they are having a meeting to make sure things are resolved so after the meeting, he called me to keep the other players calm hoping there will be a positive response and till now no one has told us anything we are still waiting for them.”
Agera said they went as far as avoiding the media and covering information about the team. “We had opportunity of making our nation proud through this but we couldn’t. On different occasion, we had to cover up so many things. There were live interviews but we stood our ground not to grant any because we didn’t want to disgrace our nation or bring shame to the nation.
We went as far as telling them the airline was responsible for not having all our players around. And all they wanted to hear is we had no money to bring all our players and our coach. Thank God Afa Sports gave us jerseys and track suits which made us look like a team.” Agera concluded.