It was a glorious weekend for Nigerian handball as the country on Saturday emerged the World U-14 handball champion in Sweden.
The country’s flag bearers in the competition, Niger United handball club in the final defeated the hosts, Sweden 21-10 to emerge winners of the competition. The tournament attracted clubs from 40 countries.
President of Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN), Mallam Yusuf Dauda who led the country’s delegation to the handball fiesta said the victory was a clear indication that the federation’s catch them young program is yielding dividend. “Back home, we initiated some catch them young programs and the fact that we came to Sweden, saw and conquered at this level shows that what we are doing has started yielding dividend. Emerging world champions at the U-14 level is a sign that there is hope for Nigerian handball. We are going to consolidate on this and as I have always said our target is to qualify for the handball event of the 2016 Olympic,” Dauda said.
Meanwhile, Director General of National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr Patrick Ekeji has declared that the fine run of Nigerian teams ahead of the London 2012 Olympics would rub off positively on the country at the world’s biggest sports fiesta.
Ekeji was full of praise for the Niger United kids for doing the country proud in Sweden, even as he commended the fighting spirit of the nation’s male basketball team D’Tigers who yesterday faced the Dominican Republic for the last slot of the London 2012 Olympics ticket. “I am happy our teams are doing well ahead of the Olympics. Our victory in Porto Novo at the African athletics championship, the latest handball feat in Sweden and the way D’Tigers have played in Venezuela is to say the least heartwarming. The performance of the D’Tigers is nothing but a transformation for Nigerian basketball. I see this rubbing off positively on the country at the Olympics,” Ekeji said.
‘Keita’s Exit, Big Blow For Barca’ Bartra has described Seidu Keita’s exit from Barcelona as a big blow. The young stopper believes that the Malian midfielder’s departure will leave a big gap in the Catalans’ ranks, but nonetheless is relishing the start of the new season.
The 32-year-old completed his move from the Blaugrana to Dalian Aerbin on Sunday, and Bartra fears the midfielder’s exit could prove to be a considerable blow for the Liga giants to take. “Keita’s exit will be really hard to deal with because he was a very loved and respected player in the squad,” Bartra told RAC1.
The defender then went on to stress that he is eager to prove his worth at the Catalans, adding that he is not fazed about the stiff competition for places awaiting him. “I’m not worried about new signings. Competition is something positive. I love to work hard to improve as a player and get better. I’m very motivated, looking forward to start with the first team. Not going to the Games means I can have a good pre-season.”