ECOWAS GAMES: NIGERIA BEAT BENIN
Nigeria's volleyball team beat Benin Republic in three straight sets to lead the male volleyball competition's Group B in the ongoing first Under-23 Economic Community of West African States Games.
The Games featuring four sports, are holding at the Abuja National Stadium with 10 countries participating.
CELEBRATION ••• Super Eagles forward, Kalu Uche (R) celebrates with team mate, Dickson Etuhu after scoring against Greece at the last World Cup in South Africa.
In the game played at the stadium's Indoor Sports Hall on Monday, the Nigerian side, in spite of racing to an 8-3 lead in the opening set, lost concentration for their opponents to level up at 10-10 and snatch the lead.
But both sides ran neck and neck toward the end to stay locked at 24-24 before the hosts won 26-24.
Benin took the initiative in the second set to lead 6-3, but Nigeria levelled up at 11-11, led at 16-12 and later moved ahead 21-14 before taking the set at 25-19.
The third and final set was the toughest, with the Beninoise players again holding on to an early lead and the Nigerian side struggling to level up before they took the game at 25-22.
Nigeria's team captain Matthew Ejeh blamed his side's performance on the failure to warm up properly for the game.
'It was not really a tough match for us despite the way the game went. It was because we didn't warm up properly before going into the game.
'We came into the game after a long trip from our camp, and I can assure you that we will get better as the competition progresses,' he said.
Team head coach Natsyn Haakaa, on his part, said the players were too over-confident, which exposed them to defensive problems.'My players believed so much in themselves as to expose their teammates.'