By Ben Nwachukwu
ASSOCIATION of ex- international handball players in diaspora has in a bid to give back to the society that gave them fame and wealth, donated kits to the Handball Federation of Nigeria, HFN, as the national team prepares for the 2017 Confederation of African Handball competition in Libreville, Gabon.
The London-based association, which has its members, men and women of Nigerian extraction residing in different countries, was represented by Lawrence Ekele alias Akara who presented different training kits to assist the national teams.
The former Benue Buffalo handball club player said, “It has become imperative that all is not well with handball in Nigeria. The sport is sliding on a fast track to the extent that it has sunk to oblivion despite the fact that it was as popular as football in our playing days.”
He noted that the deterioration in the sport was enough to inspire a true handball family member to rally round the sport and noted further that that was the inspiration they had to make the presentation.
“Handball is dying. All the glories are gone. We cannot fold our hands and watch the sport that made us what we are today to sink and become history. Though this token may not meet the expectations of many, it is good we began from somewhere and that is what we did,” he said.
The ex- international who exported his skills to Cote d’Ivoire by playing professional handball with Omeness Handball Club, Abidjan said the training kits are meant to prepare the players for Championships so as to encourage full concentration in camp.
While receiving the training kits on behalf of president of the federation, Samuel Ocheho, deputy director in the ministry of youth and sports who is also member HFN Board Dr. Toyin Aluko said there was no better time for the presentation than now considering the fact that the national team will begin camping on December 3.
She argued that government alone cannot develop sports and encouraged those who have benefited from handball to rally round the sport by emulating the ex internationals in diaspora adding that while giving back to the society, they are equally assisting the players.
“Sports gave us the needs limelight as there is no way our history will be written without the mentioning of sports. We could not have been who we are today without sports, so we owe it so much.” She said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is drawn in Group B alongside Egypt, Angola, Morocco and Congo Brazzaville. Group has host Gabon, Tunisia, DR Congo and Algeria. CAHB kicks off on January 17 to 27 while the Nigerian team departs on January 9 to Cotonou for camping.