Nigeria came from two sets down to beat Cameroon 3-2 (21-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14, 15-9) in the opening match of the U-19 Boys’ Africa Nations Championship on Thursday at Indoor Sports Hall in Abuja.
The first set was a tough battle between the two sides as Cameroon took a one point lead in the first and second technical timeouts 8-7 and 16-15 respectively.
But two successive monster blocks from Nigeria kept them in the set at a critical time when Cameroon was pulling away.
Good blocking from both sides prevented major spikes until a couple of errors from Nigeria gave Cameroon the advantage and they ended the set strong 25-21.
Cameroon continue to dominate in the second set but Nigeria nailed two spikes and the momentum shifted to the host. The Lions struggled and the crowd erupted for every Nigeria point.
Nigeria’s spirit moved on but Cameroon led 16-15 at the second technical timeout before winding up the second set 25-23.
Sensing the danger of an impending humiliation before a home crowd, Nigeria upped their game in the third set with a commanding three-point lead in the second technical timeout (16-13) with two super blocks to kill any Cameroonian spirit that came by. They nailed the set at 25-23.
The host continued with the fight in the fourth set that they easily won 25-14.
It was all to play for in the decisive set that was marked by school boy mistakes from the visitors. Nigeria led 8-5 and after forcing their opponents to individual errors that saw them run away with the set 15-9.
Both countries will return to the court on Friday where Cameroonian will be seeking revenge in the U-18 Girls’ event that is running concurrently with the boys’ championship, at the same venue.
This is the first time in African volleyball history that two events are being staged at the same time, at the same venue.
The girls event has attracted three countries-Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana while the Boys’ events has Nigeria, Cameroon, Morocco and the Gambia who are making their debut at the age group competition.