Inspite of the difficult times being faced by Handball in Rivers State, Chief Coach of the State’s amateur Handball Association, Mr. Pat Innoma-West, has declared that handballers can sweep the stakes at the forthcoming 17th National Sports Festival, (NSF), to be hosted by the state.
Speaking to Tidesprots in a recent interview at premises of Alfred Diete- Spiff Sports Complex, the coach said that the state’s male and female handball teams have the potentials to dominate the festival and claim the gold medals next year.
He hinged his confidence on the performances of the State’s teams at the recently concluded national handball competition in Minna, Niger State.
According to Innoma-West, the States’ Under-21 and under-18 female teams finished first and second, respectively, while their males’ Under-18 counterparts placed third in the tournament.
The State also contributed 16 players to the National team for a recent continental tournament in which Nigeria excelled.
The coach therefore, believes that the game should be taken more seriously by Sports authorities in the state.
“Our performances in recent competitions should attract attention to the game and association in the state, especially, because of our potentials for laurels,” he stated.
Coach Innoma-West, however, regretted that handball was not getting the attention it deserves in the state.
“Handball is suffering in the state, we’re not getting the attention we deserve,” said the coach.
He disclosed that the last time the association participated in outside competition before the recent Minna trip was 18 years ago, and called for the provision of adequate facilities to ensure that the abundant talents in the state are effectively harnessed.
He further commended the leadership of the handball association in the state and its patrons for their efforts in revamping the fortunes of the game.