Samauel Onikeku: Nigeria players need more playing time

Samauel Onikeku: Nigeria players need more playing time

The Secretary General, Nigeria Customs Service sports unit, Samuel Onikeku said the country’s volleyball players need to play more in the 2020 Nigeria volleyball season.

Onikeku told that the level of competitiveness in the league (Premier and Division one) has improved drastically.

He said last season players were inactive for a period of six months before the regular season began.

Onikeku said, “The level of competitiveness in the league is improving and what we need is more competitions and more matches. I recall at the end of the 2019 Nigeria volleyball season, the President of Nigeria Volleyball Federation, Engineer Musa Nimrod disclosed that the top three teams in the Premier League and Division will battle each other in the “Top SIX” in the first quarter of 2020.

“This will be perfect for the players because they played the first phase of the 2019 Nigeria Volleyball League in June and played the final stages in November- December; the gap of six months of inactivity for the top players is not good. The more competitions keep the players busy and we will witness that the standard of the game will improve which is what the federation wants.

He expressed satisfaction in the performance of the Nigeria Customs Volleyball teams at the 2019 Nigeria Volleyball League.

Onikeku said, “There is no mixed feeling and I am 100% satisfied with the performance of the team. We planned to win both titles, but it did not work like. The spirit of sportsmanship must come to play as we were able to defend the title in the men’s category but our women’s team experienced lost of injuries affecting our key players. So even beating every other team and losing in final to NSCDC is not bad but we were still looking over it”.

The ex international advised players and coaches to work hard and continue to discover talents at their respective localities.

He said, “As a stakeholder, my advice to players and coaches in volleyball circle is that everybody should keep on working hard. I believe the new minister, Sunday Dare will transform the fortunes of sports because he has consistently to the world that he is not a minister of sports.

“While I was an athlete we normally camp in six to twelve months before major competition comes up but now hardly see one month of good competitions. We have read on the pages of newspaper were the minister of sports, Sunday Dare said athletes who have qualified will camp outside the country and the recent “adopt and athlete program”. These programs and innovations will eventually change the face of sports in Nigeria”.

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