The national under-17 male and female beach volleyball teams have not secured entry visas to Mexico to participate in the forthcoming FIVB U-17 Beach Volleyball Championships, an official has disclosed.
The Chairman of the Beach Volleyball Commission of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Musa Nimrod, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the federation had been unable to secure the visas because of some hitches, but assured that the process of visa procurement was still on.
His words: “We were at the Mexican Embassy last week to start the visa procurement but our players were told to come with evidence of their declaration of age and birth certificates, because what they are going for are age-grade competitions.
“So, this delayed us a little, as we could not start anything for them because our players stay in different locations. But we have just been able to assemble them again in Abuja yesterday (Tuesday).
“This means that we will just be going to the embassy today (Wednesday) and see if we can get the visas for them between today and tomorrow Thursday.
“But it is unfortunate that we have not yet gotten visa on July 9 for a championship starting on July 15,’’ Nimrod said.
Nigeria’s under-17 male and female beach volleyball teams qualified for the inaugural edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U-17 World Championships in May.
The championships are scheduled to hold in Acapulco, Mexico from July 15 to July 20.
Nimrod said however that the inability of the NVBF to secure visas for the players had hindered their preparations as they could not start any camping programme.
“We ought to have been in camp before now, but because we have not been able to get visas for the players, we had to put everything on hold.
“This is because we cannot start camping when we are not sure of getting visas to travel, because of the past experience we had with some other embassies which denied us visas to attend previous competitions.
“But, we are hoping that we will get the visa very soon so that our players can be together for some days before they jet out to Mexico,’’ the beach volleyball commission chairman said.
Nimrod contended however that the late camping programme would not affect their performances because the players have been making the sacrifice of training on their own.
“In as much as we have not called the players to an official camp, I am sure they have been training on their own as a sacrifice to their fatherland because they have seen our efforts too.
“They all saw that we have not been sponsored by the government for the qualifiers or the championships proper. We are funding everything from our purse.
“It is the members of the beach volleyball commission who are sponsoring these players and it has not been easy for us. But we are doing it for the passion we have for the game.
“So, starting the camp late will not really affect the players because the major thing they need in playing beach volleyball is to be fit, which I am sure they are,’’ he said.