Over 50 teams, comprising 25 male teams and 26 female teams, will participate in the Yenagoa Invitational Volleyball Challenge 2024 from January 29th to February 4th, 2024, at the Peace Park and the indoor hall of the Samson Siasia Stadium Yenagoa.
The convener of the Yenagoa Invitational Volleyball Challenge, Major General Taritimiye Ayibakuro Gagariga (Retired), provided this information at a press briefing held in Yenagoa ahead of the championship.
Major Gagariga stated that the championship's essence was grassroots development, aiming to bring academies and other local volleyball teams together for proper guidance on how things are done in the elite division of the league.
According to him, the competition is a collaboration between civil and military relationships, with the Armed forces partnering with civilian agencies and private organizations to organize sporting events and other activities, describing it as the armed forces' way of fulfilling its corporate social responsibility.
He explained that the Yenagoa Invitational Volleyball Challenge will feature 51 teams, consisting of 25 male teams and 26 female teams, competing in what he described as the outdoor out-court challenge as well as the Park challenge, which is an open Invitational challenge.
Major General Ayibakuro Gagariga Retired asserted that the Park challenge has 30 teams in the category, noting that the teams were invited to participate in the competition as a way of showcasing what park volleyball is, as the category enters its second edition in the championship.
The convener mentioned that the first-place winner would go home with Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (350,000.00), with the second position also expected to receive a cash prize. In the new innovation park volleyball category, the winner will receive Four Hundred Thousand Naira (400,000.00) for both male and female.
He pointed out that educational grants would be given to identified volleyballers from secondary school to tertiary institutions, which, according to him, form a key part of the Yenagoa Invitational Volleyball Challenge. Cheques of 180,000.00 to 200,000.00 Naira would be presented to winners on the final day.
He appreciated Bayelsa State Gov. Senator Douye Diri for approving the venues, Chief of Defence Staff General Christopher Gwabin Musa, Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Defence Intelligence Major General Parker Emmanuel Undiandeye for sponsoring the military aspect of the competition.
Also, Coach Augustine Odumo, a Member of the Technical Committee, spoke on the tournament format, stating that four groups have been drawn to play on four courts. He added that from the preliminary stages, it would be a league system where all the teams would play to progress to the semi-final, while the park volleyball is on a knockout basis.