©AfreePress-(Lomé, Aug. 20, 2023)– In a vibrant display of youthful energy, a total of 123 young volleyball players, ranging from the U15 to U17 age groups, participated in a volleyball festival held on Saturday, August 19, 2023. The event took place at the Omnisport Stadium in Lomé and saw the enthusiastic participation of 27 teams, comprising both boys and girls.
“This is indeed a momentous day for the Togolese Volleyball Federation, as we are rekindling our commitment to youth competitions. With a total of 27 dedicated teams, there is an impressive level of enthusiasm, which is truly gratifying,” declared Mr. Anato Atsou, the National Technical Director (NTD) of the Togolese Volleyball Federation.
The event, organized by the Togolese Volleyball Federation, aligns with their ongoing initiative titled “Building Tomorrow, Today.” Matches were played in a 3×3 format for the U15 category and a 4×4 format for the U17 category.
Observing the children’s spirited play and the enthusiasm surrounding this project, Mr. Anato expressed his optimism about the promising future: “Witnessing the children on the court and the broader impact of this project, we dare to believe in a bright future.”
Mr. Anato further explained that the project’s primary objective is to provide young players with a platform for practice, competition, and the establishment of a comprehensive database for junior players. This strategic approach aims to cultivate the seeds for junior national teams, preparing them for future challenges.
“The current phase involves evaluating the progress made by coaches who underwent training in June 2023. We aim to identify the teams from the Grand Lomé League that are ready to engage in youth championships,” he added.
According to the NTD of the Togolese Volleyball Federation, the youngsters’ level of play is promising, indicating effective coaching and dedicated work on the field. He disclosed plans to continue with beach volleyball competitions, stating, “This is just the beginning; the journey will extend to beach volleyball. We have a series of competitions in store, aiming to prepare these youngsters for regional and sub-regional tournaments.”
Mr. Anato Atsou emphasized the importance of proper training and patience: “Past generations of players suffered from early specialization, which hindered their holistic development. We will take this into account to design competition systems that align with the players’ age and their training environment.”
“It’s crucial to allow them time within their respective categories, assessing their progress through competitions to eventually form a national team that truly reflects our aspirations. Rushing to the highest level isn’t the priority; while the base is vast, not everyone will make it to the national team,” Mr. Anato concluded.
This experimental competition also served as an opportunity for the technical teams of the Togolese Volleyball Federation to refine a specific set of competition rules tailored to young players. Insights and feedback gathered will contribute to the fine-tuning of these rules, ensuring their implementation across the entire national territory and within all leagues in Togo. Consequently, these leagues will soon be tasked with organizing U15 and U17 competitions for both girls and boys.