The President of the Handball Federation of Nigeria, Sam Ocheho told www.aclsports.com that the nation’s handball image will be boosted by the qualification of Nigeria U18 Women’s Team to next year’s IHF World Championship.
Nigeria’s U18 Women’s Team booked the country’s first-ever spot at the IHF World Championship after defeating Morocco 28 to 14 points in the quarterfinals of the African Nations Championship on Wednesday.
Ocheho charged the team to bring back the trophy to Nigeria, urging the players to beat Egypt in the semifinals on Friday.
He said, “The qualification for the World Championship will boost the image of handball in Nigeria; we will be on the global stage in 2024. The Handball Federation of Nigeria will be represented and more people will get to see the players as well as what we have been cooking over time. The flag of Nigeria will be raised amongst the top committee of nations in the youth category, the time to prepare is now.
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“I am ecstatic right now; it is an awesome feeling because I do not have the right words to describe it. I am very happy; for me, it shows that our focus in Youth handball is delivering results. This is the first time we are qualifying for the World Youth Championship in the female category. The championship started in 2006 and today our name is going to be written in gold because Nigeria has qualified for the championship next year”.
“My charge to the team is to win the championship and become African champions. They have done the first thing which is qualifying for the World Cup. I believe with fewer mistakes, teamwork, and determination; the girls can shock Africa on Saturday”, he told www.aclsports.com
Ocheho revealed that the Federation focused on developing young players who can take over from the ageing players at the national team.
He said plans are underway to look for sponsors that will bankroll the National U12 and 15 Championships.
He said, “HFN is trying to produce players for the future and that is why we make sure that the National U12 and U15 Championship comes back as well as the National U18 & 21. The underlying factor is to unearth new talents as most of our talent at the senior level is ageing and we need to start feeding the pipeline with more talent.
“Hence, we started focusing on the youth and junior category; which is beginning to pay off. The Sokoto State Government used to sponsor the U12&15 Championship which has expired, but we do not have sponsors. The board needs to look for sponsors because the more talents you keep churning out, the better for our national team in the future”.