The national under-21 men’s volleyball team are now to face Cameroon in the third-place match of the ongoing 2022 African U-21 Men’s Volleyball Championship in Tunisia.
Nigeria lost 1-3 (33-35 28-26 17-25 16-25) to Egypt in the competition’s first semifinal match on Saturday in Tunis, Tunisia.
Nigeria led in the early minutes of the first set 17-11 but suffered several setbacks during the game.
Egypt drew level at 23-23 before the game ended 35-33 in their favour after several game points.
Nigeria came in stronger in the second set and eventually won 28-26 points, but Egypt went on to win the third and fourth sets 25-17 and 25-16 points.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in the second semifinal match, Tunisia defeated Cameroon in three straight sets (25-21 25-19 25-19).
Head coach of the Nigerian team, Sani Mohammed, later said his team deserved to win the match against Egypt.
He said the next assignment for his side however was to beat Cameroon at all cost in order to return home with a medal.
Mohammed said: “I am sure Nigerians will agree with me that we gave our best.
“Nigeria deserved to win the match, but it is unfortunate that we lost the game due to minor mistakes.
“However, Cameroon are a decent team and we will face them on Sunday.
“But we will not underrate them.
“The players are aware that we cannot afford to return home empty-handed.
“The Federation has invested heavily on the team and the only way the team can show appreciation is by winning the bronze medal match.”
NAN reports that the team won two matches in the stage group, defeating Morocco 3-0 in their first match and beating Gambia 3-0 in their second match.
They lost in the third match against hosts Tunisia 0-3 and defeated Libya in the quarter-finals on Friday.
NAN reports that three teams will represent the continent in the 2023 Federation of International Volleyball World Cup Championship.
Rwanda are the eighth team at the 2022 Under-21 Men’s African Volleyball Championship, which began on August 13 and expected to end on Tuesday.