Ex international, Emmanuel Okocha said the game of handball has witnessed a rapid revival since the inception of Sam Ocheho as the President of Handball Federation of Nigeria.
Okocha while reacting to the performance of Nigeria junior handball team at the World Cup in Spain said the players has written their names in gold despite finishing 19th out of 24.
He told www.aclsports.com that in the last 15 years, Nigeria only attended the Senior Africa Nation’s cup in the male category alone.
He said, “I must applaud the President of Handball Federation of Nigeria, Sam Ocheho and his entire board for giving Nigeria handball a face again in respective of the pains and hardship he goes through for handball to exist rather than asking questions that might deepens his spirit and love for the game.
“My appeal is for the handball family to encourage us to see our game in a positive ways believing we will get there if we continue with the current programs and process. It used to be Egypt, Tunisia and Angola but in our first attempt en route our qualification to both the Junior and Cadets world championship we were able to drop Angola”.
He further said, “Few years back no one, I repeat no single person would have imaging that handball could be back into the world handball chart talk less of knowing where our placement would be. In the last 15 years or above the only international championship Nigeria was attending (as national team) was only the Senior Africa Nation’s cup and in male category alone.
“No stakeholder in this country can tell you the last time Nigeria had attended all categories of international championship since the inception of the game in the country”.
He revealed that gone were the days when sports federations got subventions from the sports ministry.
He said, “Those days sports federations use to be allocated with subventions(funds) from the sports ministry, I doubt if the current board can come out to say Nigeria government has given them 5% of what Sam Ocheho (President HFN) has put into the game in the last three years just for the national teams”.
Emmanuel Okocha has played for Nigeria in the U18, played in four Africa Handball Nations Cups (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014) and five All Africa Games (1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015).
He captained the National handball senior teams for over seven years, highest goal scorer Malta Guinness Division one league in 1999 and MVP Malta Guinness Division one league in 2000.