U-18 women handball team meets SA

The team left the country yesterday morning for the five-day event which will end on Saturday.

THE Zimbabwe handball  Under-19 team will today face South Africa in the Zone VI (Africa) International Handball Federation Trophy Women 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The team left the country yesterday morning for the five-day event which will end on Saturday.

Zimbabwe has been drawn in pool B together with Zambia and the hosts, while Pool A contains Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi and Seychelles.

Team coach Sipho Mahlangu admitted that they face a tough tournament where they have been drawn against strong sides, but they are confident of pulling out something.

"Zambia  and South Africa are power houses  in the region and we expect both to provide stiff competition. Having prepared them physically, mentally and tactically we hope to put up a good fight and be able to  progress  to the semi-finals," said Mahlangu.

He noted that the production of players was affected by the COVID-19-induced ban on sporting activities since 2020.

"After the initial two-day trial period before our departure we had another two-day training camp. What we noted was that our selection process was affected by inactivity in  that age group for some time. We have always relied on the Youth Games and NASH competitions for selection but they were shelved for a while. As a result, the performance  level of the players was very low when we started," said Mahlangu.

"However, during our final camp we focused on the basics of the game as a way of bringing the standard of play to the required level. We also  worked on match tactics. We would have loved to  have more friendly matches to improve on match preparednes and competitiveness."

Though the team has also been affected by some injuries and June examinations which saw some players being pulled out, Mahlangu remains confident that the available players have the capacity to stand up to the competition.

The top team at this tournament will progress to the continental championships where the top team will also qualify for the upcoming World Cup this year.


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