The Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) President, Samuel Ocheco, has disbanded the senior national men’s team prompting the players to protest the decision.
The decision was reached as a result of the team’s recent performances in continental competitions and it came at the end of the first phase of the Prudent Energy Handball League at the National Stadium in Abuja.
Nigeria crashed out of the group stage at the 2018 African Handball Championships in Gabon after losing all their four matches to Egypt, Angola, Morocco and DR Congo.
The decision by the president to disband the team was conveyed via a statement from the federation.
According to Ocheco, the decision to disband the team was taken by board for the purpose of rebuilding.
He said: “From what we have seen in the national team, we discovered that we need to start using younger players. We need to go back and start using fresh legs. This game is very physical and if we need to regain the top spot in Africa, we must go back to the youths.”
“What we did after the outing in Gabon was to x-ray the team and tell ourselves the bitter truth. This is not to say that some of the players that went to Gabon will not make the new team.” he added.
The disbanded players are however unhappy with the decision made by the federation.
One of the players who spoke with Punch said: “The federation said they want younger players in the team forgetting that experience is needed to win games as well. It is this same team that they feel is not good enough that went to the All Africa Games and brought back medals.”
Another player added: “Not all the junior players are ready to face the continental pressure. The team was without any activity for a long time before the last Nations Cup – how could we have done well at the competition? But we will wait and see what comes of the decision and anyone called upon among us will honour the invite.”