Nigeria’s campaign at the 2020 Africa Handball Nations Cup started on a disappointing note as the senior men’s handball team fell to Angola in their tournament opener in Tunis, Tunisia.
A slow start saw Nigeria trail 10-17 after the first half and though the team rallied to win the second half 14-13, Angola ran out 30-24 winners on the strength of their energetic first-half showing at the Salle Omnisports de Rades.
Head coach Rafiu Salami praised his side’s fighting spirit which saw them rebound in the second half but bemoaned the slow start which enabled the Angolans establish an unassailable lead.
The loss notwithstanding, Salami insisted that Nigeria’s objective of qualifying for the 2021 Handball World Cup is still on course and expressed confidence that team who are currently bottom of Group B can still qualify to the next round.
Nigeria’s next fixture on Friday sees them go up against Gabon who drew 22-22 with Libya in their opener on Thursday.
Elsewhere, Egypt posted an impressive 39-22 victory over Guinea in Group A, hosts Tunisia rose to the summit of Group C with a 33-21 win over Cape Verde while Ivory Coast lost 19-28 to Cameroon in the same group.
Morocco beat Congo 34-25 in Group D with Zambia blown out 9-34 by Algeria in the other game.