Nigeria U18 women’s handball team have qualified for the 2024 IHF World Women’s Youth Championship in China for the first time since inception in 2006.
Nigeria defeated Morocco 28-14 goals in the quarterfinals of the ongoing 2023 African U18 Women’s Nations Championship to reach the semi-finals on Wednesday.
Highly spirited Nigeria team bombarded Morocco in the first half with Kehinde Babtunde made beautiful saves. The combination of Taiwo Babatunde, Rahima Bello and Chidera Ogbusimba proved to be too strong for the Moroccans as the first half ended by by 17 to 5 goals despite the fans throwing their weight behind the North Africans.
The Moroccans troubled Nigeria in the second half, making efforts to reduce the deficit but the defense of Nigeria made impotent. Chidera Ogbusimba who was voted Most Valuable Player, marshalled Nigeria to victory by 28-14.
The coach of Nigeria U18 team Agboola Shittu told www.aclsports.com that becoming the first coach in Nigeria to qualify for the U18 Women’s IHF World Championship is a great deal.
He revealed that Nigeria beat three North African side on their way to achieve the feat.
The 2003 All African bronze medallist said, “I feel on top of the world for 2 major reasons. Firstly, I am able to secure two World Cup slots for Nigeria in both male and female (first of its kind) and secondly, I left the handball scene for two years and came back to perform exploits. God has been faithful to me and the teams.
“For those who are not aware, Nigeria played three North Africa teams in this tournament (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco), defeating all of them. It feels good to be able to compete with the North Africans and beat them in my time”.
Shittu told www.aclsports.com that Nigeria is hopeful of making it to the final of the championship.
He said, “Nigeria will slug it out with Africa super power, Egypt in the semi-finals and we are hopeful of making it to the final.
“After the loss to Guinea, I reminded the players that they are champions and must not be deterred by the loss. It worked well as they came out fighting back”.