Secretary General of the Commonwealth Handball Association, Saidu Jibril, has commended the quality of organisation and competition witnessed at the just-concluded National Sports Festival, which ended in Asaba, Delta State, at the weekend.
Hosts, Delta, won the Games with 320 gold, 200 silver and 128 bronze medals.
The former international handball player praised both the men’s and women’s teams of Kano and Oyo states for their doggedness to win gold medals in the handball event at the expense of Team Delta.
Jibril, who became the Secretary General of Commonwealth Handball Association at a meeting of member countries on December 5, 2021, said he plans to make the sport accessible to grassroot dwellers.
He urged the country’s handball coaches and umpires to brace up for the development of the sport in sub-Saharan Africa, adding: “Our plan is to ensure the successful introduction of beach handball to Nigeria.
“It is the global trend and Commonwealth nations cannot be left behind. We cannot rush into this without carefully studying the financial, technical and official requirements for its success.
“For sure, I can tell you that once funds are approved by the CHA for this specific project, we shall hit the ground running. I have consistently reminded handball stakeholders in the country that we have to take the lead in the Commonwealth and seize the opportunity to develop the sport in African countries.”
Jibril also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to faithfully follow the National Sports Industry Policy that mandates the various federations to be financially independent, rather than relying on full sponsorship by the ministry.
He admonished the federations to be transparent in their dealings, saying, “handball will reach its peak when we, as stakeholders, all come together. We have to abandon our selfish interests and put the sport first because of our youths. The president of Handball Federation must carry all board members along and be open with all financial dealings on behalf of the board.
“We are all up there in our respective careers mainly because of the platform handball gave us when we were teenagers; what platform are we creating for the next generation?”
Jibril congratulated the country’s sports men and women for their exploits in 2022 and called for more support for constituted authorities as the journey to 2023 continues.