It proved to be a less than ideal return to the Women’s Africa Handball Nations Cup for Nigeria as they were on the wrong end of a thrashing by Group B opponents DR Congo in the tournament opener on Tuesday.
The gulf in class between both teams was stark and Nigeria’s inexperience was evident in the 16-35 blowout loss at the Yaoundé Multipurpose Sports Complex.
The match was Nigeria’s first at this tournament for 27 years and it showed on Tuesday.
DR Congo were first off the block and never looked back, racking up an18-3 lead at half time.
Nigeria regrouped at the interval and were much improved as they appeared rid of their collective stage fright. The second period was more closely fought with the Congolese edging the West Africans 17-13 enroute a 35-16 victory.
The win lifts DR Congo to the top of Group B with Cameroon taking on Kenya later on Tuesday.
Head coach Rafiu Salami will hope his team builds on their second half showing when they take on hosts Cameroon in their next match on Thursday.