SMALL FRAME, BIG NAME
Being a member of Oyo State Volleyball Association, ethiquette requires my commitment to development of the game in the state. As a former player, this status imposes additional responsibility on me to ensure our teams excel at tournaments. At the ongoing National Sports Festival qualifiers at the Liberty Stadium, Oke Ado, Ibadan, I have been a regular face providing support to our team. Essentially, my presence is complemented by other members including our chairman, a female PhD holder and lecturer in the state. Ekiti State on Thursday crossed our path and left the stadium with 0-3 deficit. Our players simply overwhelmed them despite the determination with which Dr Fayemi players fought that tough battle. One player in Ekiti jersey, however, was a cynosue of all spectators and officials during that match and subsequent games played by his team against Lagos and Ogun States. This player, Abraham Ige, is arguably the youngest in the tournament but incredulously most valuable among volleyballers who played the new role of libero. He played with unusual mien with which only tested, exposed players are distinguished in matches. He is calm, careful and calculative doing accurate first passes that easily locate setter and make his job ice on the cake for attackers over the net. Even though his coaches need some works to do in his right positioning while defending his court, the 17-year old is the future of volleyball should he encouraged with more competitive championships. A Senior Secondary School student of Ilofa-Ekiti High School, Ige is a mirror of my generation in this same Liberty Stadium where we were drilled and prepared for most of volleyball championships we attended during our years of innocence. Hardworking coaches Tunde Adeleye, Chief Ayo Adewoye and Peter Adedeji not excluding the late Lateef Badru, all under the supervision of the late Baba Jide Omilabu, did so well in molding us to become confident players that ruptured volleyball courts from Lagos to Kano to Port-Harcourt to Makurdi and other capital cities where volleyball shows were staged. I felt I should pose with Ige after his match against Ogun State yesterday and sought his permission, a request he granted, hence this father-and-son image snapped by his coach. God bless this boy and the tutor who manufactured him to a star at Liberty Stadium. Amen. No complacence, boy! You can make it BIG.