Rafiu Salami, coach of Nigeria handball national team believes the country will impress at the Nations Cup which gets underway today in Tunisia.
The tactician who also manages French topflight side Issy Handball Club pointed to the marked improvement evident in the last two friendlies the team played as evidence for his optimism.
Nigeria rebounded from friendly defeats to Morocco and Tunisian top-flight side Olympique Sulayman to secure morale-boosting wins over Cameroon and DR Congo in Tunis.
The clear growth trajectory allied with the improved strength and conditioning of the team occasioned by assistants coaches Solomon Yola and Segun Tunji, Salami said, would make Nigeria formidable foes for any country in the tournament.
“The team is progressing physically and tactically as my colleagues have handled the physical aspect of the training before I even came to camp,” Salami said.
“Looking at all of the warm-up games we have played, there is a nice blend between how we play physically and tactically and this has helped to greatly improve the way we play.”
Meanwhile, technical director of the Handball Federation of Nigeria Ferdinand Emeana lauded HFN President, Mr. Sam Ocheho’s efforts at ensuring proper preparations and a training tour to Tunisia for the national team ahead of the tournament.
Emeana stated that experience garnered by the team from the four quality friendly matches will propel them to do well at the tournament.
Nigeria begin their tournament against Angola today before facing Gabon and Libya in Group B.
The championship holds between 16 and 26 January and also doubles as a qualifying tournament for the 2021 World Cup.