The head coach of TojeMarine HC, Agboola Shittu has become the first coach to qualify Nigeria for the IHF Intercontinental Trophy in U18 Girls and U20 Men.
Nigeria defeated Guinea by 33 to 18 goals to win the 2023 IHF U18 Girls Continental Trophy played at the Centre Ivoiro-Coreen Sports hall in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday.
In 2018, Agboola Shittu led Nigeria U20 to win the IHF Africa Challenge Trophy in Kigali, Rwanda after defeating DR Congo.
The 2003 All African Games bronze medallist told www.aclsports.com that winning the IHF Continental Trophy with the U18 Girls is a dream come true for him as a coach.
He said there is still room for improvement with the team despite lifting the trophy.
Shittu said, “I am elated and glad that Nigeria is able to win the IHF Continental Trophy. Since the commencement of the IHF Intercontinental Challenge Trophy 17 years ago, Nigeria has yet to attend the tournament; I am happy to create another record in the handball community.
“If you remember, I qualified the U20 Men’s team for the World Championship after 33 years. You can imagine the joy in my heart and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to bring the Nigeria girls to the World Championship.
“Nigeria was unbeaten at the Zonal Challenge and took it all the way to the continental Challenge. I will rate player good but I believe there is room for a lot of improvement considering the fact that Nigeria will play against other champions for the remaining continents”, he added.
He said, “If you consider the level of Nigeria’s handball in terms of development, we are getting it gradually. The Guinean team Nigeria faced is rated 7th in Africa while Nigeria is below them. All the players need are motivation and encouragement; I believe these girls can be world beaters.”
Shittu said the longer camp exercise will help the team physically and technically.
He said, “Nigeria will meet tough opposition in the InterContinental Stage and we are hoping that opportunities to engage in longer camps are considered by the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN). It will help the team to develop technical, physical and the rest because the players need to be fit for bigger tournaments.”