Handball Federation of Nigeria president Sam Ocheho wants improved government support for the Federation’s programme for Nigeria’s participation at the 2020 African Handball Nations Championship in Tunisia.
The 10-day Nations Championship is scheduled to commence on 15 January 2020 and the HFN plans to start training camp for the national team in December to ensure the best possible preparation for the tournament.
The country’s national men’s handball team have been placed in Group B alongside Libya, Gabon and Angola in the tournament which also serves as a qualifier for the 2021 IHF World Championships in Egypt.
Ocheho has already stated that securing a maiden berth at the 2021 World Championships in Egypt is Nigeria’s main target and achieving that target would require a level of government support that had been lacking in the past.
The HFN president expressed hopes that the new dispensation in the Ministry of Sports would be more “responsive” to their funding needs and treat their demands as legitimate and a matter of national concern.
“Provision of funding, that’s a major thing I’m looking out for from them,” ” Ocheho said about his expectations of the sports ministry.
“We’re already coming up with our programmes. We intend to start camping on December 1st. We hope that the ministry this time will be more responsive to handball and help provide funding,” he added.
Although he is yet to have a “proper meeting” with Minister of Sports Sunday Dare to bring him up to speed with the HFN’s programmes, Ocheho believes Dare’s disposition to non-football sports as evidenced by his rhetoric sends the right signals about his intention to run an all-inclusive ship.
And he says the federation would be relying on the Sports Minister to live up to his promise of enhanced support for non-football sports by ensuring proper financial support for the HFN.
“Well, we had a brief meeting, we’ve not really had a proper meeting. But very soon I hope to be in Abuja where I’ll have a proper meeting with him,” Ocheho revealed.
“But at least from the very brief meeting we’ve had, he has already pledged his support for other sports, and handball is included in other sports.
“He made a pledge that he doesn’t want to be a football minister, and he’s going to look at the other so-called lesser sports. So, we are going to take him up on this promise and hope that he’s going to do well for the development of the other sports in Nigeria.”