Minister rescues handball Nations Cup dream

The quick intervention of the Minister  of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has rescued the female national Handball team from missing out of participating at the Nations Cup in Cameroon after delayed  funding threatened  the build-up.

Dare had on May 5 visited the team at their Abuja camp  in company of the head of the HFN Caretaker Committee, Sam Ocheho where he charged them to ensure they pick one of the World Cup slots allocated to Africa with an assurance to make funds available.

While the money was eventually approved by the minister, the long process of getting  it released created  doubt  and panic,  until the minister directed that the money should be sourced and released.

An elated Ocheho thanked the minister for coming to the team’s aid. “We are grateful  to the minister for making good his promise to provide fund for the Nations Cup. Although  the money was approved by the minister, but the process of getting it released was getting tough. Thanks to the minister’s intervention, part of the money was released to enable us buy tickets and attend to other important  needs. So excited   that we are returning  to the Nations  Cup after more than 26 years absence.”

As the team  intensified training, they played three friendly games.

In the first, they defeated FCT Under-18 Boys 36-26 on Wed. May 26. Two days later, they narrowly defeated the Niger State Under-21 Men’s team, lost to Suleja Shooters 31-29 on Saturday, at the Indoor Sports Hall of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

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The Women Afcon bound team will play their last tune-up match on Tuesday. The national team  has been in camp since May 2 under the supervision of Coach Rafiu Salami.

The team which commenced camping  with 24  players,  including three Benin Republic based professionals were on Tuesday trimmed to 18 players.


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