Former handball player, Olajide Fashikun has lamented the decline in the sport and has called for better restructuring in Nigeria. President Handball Federation of Nigeria, Sam Ochehu and his board, unveiled a sponsor for the handball league last month
The Prudent Energy Handball League ended last week with 22 teams (12 males, 10 females) competing in Abuja between April 27- May 6. This followed the U-12 and U-15 league which took place at the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos from April 6-15.
According to the HFN boss, the cadet championships was a success because 80 talented players were discovered during the 10 day event.
Fashikun, however, has a different opinion on how handball should be revived in Nigeria. The athlete turned journalist shared his views with ACLSports.
”The problem I have always had with our federation is that competition are like ammunition. If you don’t prepare a student by lecturing, teaching, demonstration, practicals, you just carry the students and throw them into the exam hall you think you are growing but in the real sense you are not developing. Most federation prefer competing because that is where they pretend to be working.
Many of them are not interested in development. Today, what is the quality of young athletes and coaches we have? How many from the sports council are interested in development? Fashikun asked
“If you go to the sports council many are not interested in school sports but more interested in individual sports because that is where the medal will come and that is where a lot of federation are having problem today.
The only sports still doing grassroots development is basketball because it is from the grassroots, primary and secondary school they eventually pick later”.
Year in and out, basketball is churning out young Nigerians. A situation where you don’t have the growth process means you are not doing well. I see what is happening in handball today I don’t condemn it but that’s is not the right thing (process) they are doing,” he said.
While commending the cadet league that took place in Lagos, Fashikun believes it won’t be devoid of age cheats.
“It’s good we had U-12 and U-15 tournament. During my time, if you play U-12 this year you can’t play next year you move to the next age group. But in U-12 we have now will still play next year, same coach will project same child or children to play, we will not develop.
“Coaches are not been sanctioned for cheating because if you sanction a coach or a State then they realize they need to do what is right.”
The ex-international also condemned the recently concluded league in Abuja.
“At the elite level, we are condemning them for giving us a one week league. The team playing in Abuja how did they select them? It wasn’t done fairly but should have been done using the right process. Did you play regional championship that will have the champions coming to play at the centre or a Division 1? We used to have Division 1 and 2 and now just bringing teams together to come and play it is not correct,” he lamented.
“The board just came in and they are thinking of competition have you thought of what we need to do to rehabilitate the sport? We can continue championship but it doesn’t guarantee any growth. How many of our coaches have gone through training or how many ex-players practising abroad want to come back home? None”.