United States (US) based, Tony Ngwube says it is time for ex volleyball internationals around the globe to invest back to Nigeria Volleyball.
The former Kano Super Star VC player told www.aclsports.com that the players playing in the Nigeria Volleyball Premier League and Division one have the potential of breaking into Asia, European and South American Leagues.
The former Asniers Paris player said he retired after the 1991 All African Games in Egypt because he has achieved all his set targets.
Aclsports: Can you give us a short history on how your started the game of volleyball?
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Ngwube: I started my volleyball career at Enugu during my High school years. I eventually played for Anambra state, Rivers state and One of the best Club in Africa, Kano Super Stars Volleyball Club.
I got into the senior national team back in 1983 under national coach Richardson Odele. I am proud to say that I represented Nigeria at two All Africa games (Kenya ‘87 and Egypt ’91 respectively), the Commonwealth games in 1986, ECOWAS Games, African Nations Cup, Olympics eliminations from 1983 to 1993.
I was drafted by a France top division volleyball team (Asniers Paris) to play Pro-volleyball in France in 1987/88 season after the scout of the team saw me play at the 1987 African Club Championship in Algeria and the 1987 All African Games in Kenya.
I played Pro-volleyball in Europe in the 1990s and ended my pro volleyball career selected to play in the prestigious All world pro volleyball tournament 3 years in a row. This is a selection of the Best pro volleyball players in Italy, France, Brazil, Russia, Germany, USA, Japan, Belgium, Holland, China, Greece and Spain. It was like the world best selection you have in football.
I retired from pro volleyball in 1993 after my All Stars volleyball selections; my Brazilian club team coach is still angry at me till today because he could not understand why a good volleyball player like me should retire in my prime. He told me that I was being sought after by many top European and Japanese club teams but like I explained to him and my teammates that I have achieved everything I set out to achieve in volleyball and it was time for me to leave and move back to the USA to my family and kids in 1993.
The clubs I played for outside Nigeria includes; Asniers Paris VC, Tours VC, Asvam VC and Dayton VC Ohio USA. I got drafted by Perijua Vb Italy but could not play due to contract terms.
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Aclsports: You were at the 2019 Nigeria Volleyball League, what will be your assessment?
Ngwube: My visit to Nigeria during the 2019 Nigeria Volleyball Premier League was memorable such that since I stopped playing for the country in 1991 after the All African Games in Egypt, I have not been around Nigeria volleyball for almost 30 years to watch any local side play.
The organization of the 2019 Nigeria Volleyball Premier League was great; the players played exciting games and are so talented. Those young men and women can go lot further with the help of the ex international partnering with the federation. If the ex international combine forces with the board of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation, the 2020 Nigeria Volleyball Premier League will be packed with crowd and the publicity will be massive.
Aclsports: What is your message to ex-Internationals like yourself?
Ngwube: My advice to ex volleyball Internationals is to come out and support the Nigeria Volleyball Federation because the federation needs us now than ever.
I plead with all my colleagues in the Diaspora to come back and help Nigeria. I want to tell them that helping Nigeria Volleyball is not all about money; without orgainsation, structure and planning is failure.
This is the time for ex International outside the country to come help. When I say help, we should not expect any penny while helping the federation. Nigeria currently needs help technically, coaching, national team preparation to competition; all of these we need to bring as ex international. For those of us that played overseas, we enjoyed facilities, organized league, the mechanism and the PR program of all the teams we played for.
I applaud the Nigeria volleyball federation members; you guys are doing a great job in keeping volleyball alive in Nigeria under the leadership of Engineer Musa Nimrod and everybody else that is helping in keeping the game going.
I am inviting all the ex Internationals scattered across the country to converge in Abuja at the next Nigeria Volleyball Premier League and help in any way we can to boost the morale of the players and put them on the world map where they belong.