Accra, Ghana, May 3, 2016 – Edward Seiju Ajanako and Jonathan Scott Sarpong will have Rio on their minds when they lead Ghana at the CAVB Men’s Continental Cup this week.
Kelibia in Tunisia hosts the tournament that starts today, May 3 and concludes on May 9. Twelve teams have earned the right to take part and the winners will earn their country a berth at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.
“I more feel confident than before, because I have spent more time with Jonathan so we can brainstorm and develop our play together,” Seiju Ajanako said. “As team, it is very important to learn tactics together so the two weeks we had together has been really good for us. We are more confident than before.
“Beach volleyball is making strides in Africa and I like the way it brings the community together and I’ve made great friends all over the continent. Tunisia, Morocco and Angola are strong and experienced teams and Morocco and Angola have been pioneers in Africa.”
In Tunisia Seiju Ajanako and Scott Sarpong will be joined by Ghana's other pair of Isaac Barnes and Philip Amissah. They will need to overcome teams from Tunisia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Burundi, Gambia, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast and Rwanda.
Their challenge isn’t without logistical challenges. Seiju Ajanako is based in Ghana, while the US-born Scott Sarpong lives in Germany. The Ghana Volleyball Federation led by Paul Atchoe work hard to bring them together for training as often as possible and over the last two weeks Seiju Ajanako has stayed with Scott Sarpong in Germany where they have been training on a daily basis to be ready for the tournament.
The 38-year-old Seiju Ajanako has some experience of major tournaments; he coached Amissah and Nicholas Tetteh at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games and then in 2015 he and Scott Sarpong firmly made their mark at the Netherlands 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
While they failed to make it through their pool they faced FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour regulars Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil and Spain’s Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera and pushed their more illustrious opponents hard, much to the delight of the Amsterdam crowd.
“For two weeks we been training and playing some tournament in Germany and we also spent a few days in Istanbul for some warm weather training before Tunisia,” Seiju Ajanako said.
“The World Championship was such a great time in my career. Everything was at a high standard and we played against all the pro’s. Emanuel at 42 was insane and he inspires me to try and match what he could do at such an age.
“We had some great rallies and entertained the crowd so I feel we have some good talents in us and with time together we can win. Olympics is the great stage for all sports, so we are determined to grab the ticket.”