According to HFN President, Yusuf Dauda , The Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) is working hard to ensure Nigeria wins a medal in the sport at this year’s All Africa Games (AAG) scheduled for Congo Brazzaville in September. The HFN has invited 60 players for camping ahead of the2015 All Africa Games, preparations have started and camping begins on July 26 in Kaduna.
“The Challenge Trophy team will be in camp in Abuja immediately after the Eid el Fitr celebration, while the All Africa Games teams will also be in camp in Kaduna on July 26. For the U-21 team in the Challenge Trophy, about 24 players have been invited and for the All African Games we have about 60 players invited – 30 men and 30 ladies,” he said.
Dauda is optimistic the team will shine in Brazzaville. “We are preparing to ensure that we win a medal. Every team in the competition will be there to win. What we are doing now is to make sure we are among the best teams,”.
The federation has been preparing its women team without waiting for the National Sports Commission (NSC) to officially invite them for camping according to The Technical Director of the federation, Pat Atusu,. This he said the training is behind scheduled and have much to do in preparations. “The team is behind schedule, and coincidentally, we just finished a meeting where the board has directed the players to move into camp immediately after the Salah celebration, not minding when the NSC will officially invite them into camp.”
According to Atusu, “the Mega Veterans (a group of former handballers) and the board have decided to take up the responsibility of camping the team hopefully between July 19 and 25, until when the NSC will take over.”
He disclosed in an interview with Guardian Newspaper that the NHF would take the team on a training tour, adding, however, “the tour is a bit subjective; subjective in the sense that though the federation had planned that the team will be going on a playing tour within the West Africa Coast, which may include Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire. We are also thinking of Cameroun to see if we can play some friendly matches. We hope to come out well prepared before the Games”.
The Nigerian women handball team will feature at the games following their victory over Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso in the qualifiers.