By Freeman Makopa
THE Zimbabwe Handball Federation (ZHF) is targeting to send a team for the International Handball Federation Zone 6 tournament scheduled for Johannesburg, South Africa, from April 29 to May 6.
ZHF secretary Edison Chirodza told NewsDay Sport that a team of 28 female players had been selected to represent the country at the regional showcase.
“The coaches have made their selection for the Under-18 and Under-21 teams that will represent the country at the International Handball Federation Trophy in South Africa. The team will be in camp this week to make final preparations,” he said.
The tournament will be used as qualifiers for the Junior Africa championships slated for Niger in August.
“The tournament will be used as qualifiers for the Junior Africa championships in August, so we are equipping the teams with the necessary skills because we have 28 players going to South Africa with 14 players in the Under-18 category and the same number for the Under-21s,” Chirodza said.
“Our teams are now in place. Last year, we finished third, but this time around, we look forward to qualifying.”
Zone 6 countries that will battle it out for qualification include Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland, among others.
He also said lack of sponsorship was hampering the development of the sport.
“Lack of sponsorship has become the stumbling block to the growth and development of the sport in the country. Many sponsors only eye sporting disciplines they deem big and not knowing that Handball is a big sport, which needs to be sponsored and has the capacity to become even bigger in Africa,” Chirodza said.
“We have challenges in meeting costs for the teams’ training camp, training materials kits, medical supplies, balls as well as accessing indoor facility at Chitungwiza Aquatic complex which charges $50 per two hours.”
Last year, the Zimbabwe men’s team won bronze in Zambia out of the nine countries that participated in the championships.