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Lack of sponsors killing handball in Nigeria 'Dauda

Published by Punch on Sat, 31 Dec 2011

President of the Handball Federation of Nigeria, Yusuf Dauda, blames the low standard of the sport in Nigeria on lack of sponsors for the federations programmes and inadequate funding from the government.Dauda told our correspondent that there was the need to make the sports attractive to corporate bodies by holding competitions and exposing the young players to international tourneys.He said, A few years ago, handball was dead in Nigeria but in the past two years, efforts have been made to save the sport from extinction. Efforts to revive the sport are geared towards youth development programmes, but it will take some time for handball to resurrect in the country.But we are faced with the problem of wooing sponsors as the fund coming from government is not enough to execute our developmental programmes. To bring the sponsors, it is important to build the game so that we will have a good brand to present to them.Dauda says part of the federations efforts is to bring back some of the competitions that have not been held for some years and send teams to participate in international competitions.We just finished a competition in Kano, which was last held four years ago. After the National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt this year, we went to a camp with young players in preparation for the All Africa Games. A few weeks ago, we had another championship in Kaduna, where 24 teams participated. In the past few years, two to three teams have been representing Nigeria in age-grade competitions outside the country.The national team we inherited did not have the ability to win medals for Nigeria, so it is important for us to encourage the young players. Luckily, we won a U-17 competition in Cameroon this year, so we can concentrate on the players development and build for the future. If we continue to expose the girls and boys to international competitions early in life, we will soon have strong teams representing Nigeria and winning laurels.He also blamed the activities of agents who he said ruined the future of the young players through illegal transfers.It was difficult for the federation to monitor the players abroad because we had no data on them. But we have started working on this and soon, we will have the profile of all our players in Europe and elsewhere.One of the bad practices I met was the activities of illegal agents who promised our young players big contracts abroad but ended selling them to small clubs in a league that is not competitive. The players get nothing while their career suffers. I have warned that anyone caught in the act will be dealt with. It is an offence to transport a player abroad with the aim of selling to a club without proper clearance from the federation.To check the activities of the agents, the HFN president said full handball league and Super Cup were being re-introduced so that the young players would earn a living and play regularly.Dauda bemoaned the concentration of funds made available to sports on football, pleading that other sports be given attention.We put all our money on football and we have been disappointed by their performance. Handball and other sports can earn Nigeria medals with little funding because we are blessed with players capable of beating other countries.
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