HANDBALL: 2019 HFN League Set For Second Postponement As President Exhorts Clubs (AUDIO)

President of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) Sam Ocheho says a likelihood exists that the first phase of the 2019 Prudent Energy Handball League might suffer yet another postponement.

The league, Nigeria’s top tier for handball had already been postponed once to 24th April – 4th May because of a clash in dates with the Intercontinental International Handball Federation (IHF) Challenge Trophy in Kosovo where Nigeria’s Cadet and Junior Men National Team will be participating and which runs from 10th – 14th April, 2019.

With the African Confederation of Handball having fixed the qualifiers for the All African Games for April 28th, Ocheho speaking to the media on the final day of the U18 and U21 Handball League at the Rowe Sports Park, Yaba, Lagos on Saturday said another postponement might be in the offing although he stated that the postponements won’t stop the League from taking place.

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“The league this year will surely happen,” Ocheho said, “it suffered postponement because the U18 and U21 team are going to Kosovo for the Intercontinental stage of the IHF trophy [on] April 9th, so that’s why we had to move the league.”

“Again we are still looking at the whole league, it might have to suffer another postponement to May, not because the sponsor is not ready, but because the African Confederation of Handball just fixed the qualifiers for the All African Games for April 28.

“So the whole thing about the league in terms of logistic and planning is fully ready financially the sponsors are ready, so a lot of issues from the international scene just leading to us moving the league but we will surely do it.”

Meanwhile, the NHF President has warned the champions of the 2018 Prudent Energy Handball League not to expect financial support from the Federation for their continental campaigns.

Niger United (male) and Plateau Peacocks (female) emerged winners of the inaugural edition of the league last year and qualified to represent Nigeria at the African Clubs Championship in Morocco and Ocheho says the federation cannot combine supporting the national teams with the “burden” of sponsoring the clubs “for their own championship”. 

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“[The 2018 league champions] have been given letters for continental championship so I guess it depends on them to gather funds and attend but they’ve been given letters.

“The federation has a lot on its plate, the federation can’t be there to keep supporting the clubs for their own championship [and] also support the national team. We can not leave the burden for the Federation alone, every stakeholder has to come on board and ensure that the train keeps moving.”