Nigeria senior volleyball player, Francisca Ikhiede said she almost froze playing snow volleyball for the first time in her life.
Francisca Ikhiede, Tochukwu Nnoruga, Isabella Langu and Amara Uchechukwu represented Nigeria at the 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball Tours in Argentina.
Ikhiede told www.aclsports.com that she has never experienced such cold and it was the first time she saw how snow looked like.
She said, “it was a nice experience playing for Nigeria at her first ever snow volleyball international championship. I have never witnessed such level of cold in my entire life but I was over the moon because I was able to see how snow looked like.
“The bus had to take us up the hill where the snow volleyball court was located at Bariloche. In my mind, I was like God, take me out of this place because of the cold but I am not scared of height naturally.
“While we were playing our first game against the Argentina 1, my hands and legs got iced. During the second set, I nearly froze on the court but I and my teammates got motivated putting the extremely cold weather aside. We told ourselves that if other teams can play fine, our body system acclimatize and adapt to the condition”.
Ikhiede who said volleyball has been a blessing to her revealed that her love for volleyball began after watching the sport at the 2009 National Sports Festival in Kaduna tagged KADA Games.
The former water resources player said, “The first time I watched ladies play volleyball was during the 2009 National Sports Festival in Kaduna tagged KADA Games. I was perplexed watching the ladies spike, set, volley and rally and that day I made up my mind to dump athletics for volleyball.
“After the Kada Games, I was informed that the training venue of volleyball in Kaduna was at the Muritala Square. When I decided to resume training, no one had my time because I was new and no one put me through the rudiment of the game so I got discouraged and left.
Two years later, coach Sunday Obadofin (Nigeria Police Machine Libero) brought me back and started putting me through. He was the only one who saw I would be a better player in the future. He trained me at the Nigeria Police College in Kaduna. It all started like a joke then but I thank God for where I am because volleyball has been a source of blessing to me.
She said, “My very first volleyball team is Kada Stars of Kaduna, breaking into the National Junior women’s team immediately after the 2012 National Sports Festival in Lagos. I played for the club side of the President, Nigeria Volleyball Federation, Musa Nimrod called water resources volleyball club.
“The turning point of my career came when I signed for Nigeria Customs Service volleyball club in 2014. I got inducted into the team and I was learning from some of the national team players. The current sports secretary, Samuel Onikeku and his wife who are both ex international took me in as their own daughter and I am proud to say that meeting both of them is enough blessing because they have impacted so much in my life (They are my 2nd parents)”.