2018 IHF Trophy Challenge silver medallist, Ibrahim Dikko has told www.aclsports.com why he moved to Kano Pillars Handball Club from his boyhood club, Lagos Seasiders.
Dikko explained that after failing to lift the Prudent Energy Handball League trophy with Lagos Seasiders for four seasons, he had to pick up another challenge at Kano Pillars.
The 2022 Best Center Back player said he eventually won the Prudent Energy Handball League title with Kano Pillars in one season with the handball giants.
He said, “After playing four seasons with Lagos Seasider, I felt I needed to play for another team and gain more experience in the game outside my comfort zone. I eventually opted for Kano Pillars because of their experienced coach and the calibre of players they parade.
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While playing for Lagos Seasiders, the club finished second position at the first edition of the Prudent Energy Handball League and placed third position in the second and third year of the Prudent Energy Handball League. I was able to finally lay my hand on the trophy in one season with Kano Pillars (2022 Prudent Energy Handball League).
“Not only did I win the Prudent Energy Handball League with Kano Pillars, I was able to win a gold medal with Kano State at the 2022 National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State. It is funny that at the 20th National Sports Festival in Edo state, my previous team; Lagos state, lost to Kano State in the finals. I have a strong feeling that I am destined to be a Kano Pillars player”, Dikko told www.aclsports.com
Dikko said his biggest fan and motivator is his father, Coach Danjuma Dikko who was the handball coach with the then Lagos State Sports Council and first set of National Handball Coaches invited to handle the senior team.
He revealed that the current President of Handball Federation of Nigeria, Sam Ocheho, Former coach of Nigeria U18 Boys Team, Shittu Agboola, coach Tony Idolor and Coach Femi Tunji played major roles in his handball career.
The former Captain of Nigeria U19 Boys Team said, “My driving force and motivator in the game of handball is my father, Coach Danjuma Dikko. He is my biggest fan even when I am passing through trying times, he is always there to motivate me. My father played handball for NEPA of Lagos but could not feature at the senior team. He was fortunate to be among the first set of coaches invited to the senior national team.
“Asides guidance from my father, some big names in the game of handball like, Coach Tony idolor; President of Handball Federation of Nigeria,Sam Ocheho; Coach Shittu Agboola and Coach Femi Tunji have played huge roles in reshaping my life”.
Dikko shared the story of how he began the game of handball and the journey so far.
He said, “I was introduced to the game of handball by my father in 2007; my father was the coach at Lagos State Sports Council and he inspired me a lot. I was fortunate enough to play for Nigeria in the U12 category in 2009 and later got promoted to the U15 category in 2009. Due to my determination and zeal as a young handball player, I was invited to the senior national camp by my coaches; Shittu Agboola and Femi Tunji who were coaches in Lagos. This invitation to the senior camp drilled and gave me more confidence to face any player no matter the size or height.
“Coach Shittu Agboola and Femi Tunji took over from my father after he retired from the Lagos State Sports Council then”.
Dikko said the IHF World Trophy Challenge in 2019 changed his mentally and style of play after facing other European countries and finishing second in Kosovo.
He said, “I can say since I played the IHF Trophy Challenge Zone 3 in 2018, the IHF Continental Trophy staged 2019 as well as the Youth World Championship the same year, my game changed drastically. I have played against many European countries and studied how they played. It inspired me alot in the game and I told myself I must work hard and add some skills. I learnt some of these skills on my own and it has helped me influence any team I play for”.
A high spirited Dikko believes he can play professional handball outside the country despite being discouraged due to his height disadvantage.
He said, “I strongly believe I have what it takes to play professional handball outside the country despite being talked down due to my height. I have watched professional handball in Europe and I see individuals shorter than me playing for Paris Saint-Germain Handball Club as well as other clubs. I believe by God’s grace I will get there because I know the talent I possess, most tall people do not have. I will continue pushing till the opportunity comes.”
Laurels won by Ibrahim Dikko (International)
Gold- 2018 IHF Trophy in Niamey, Niger Republic
Gold- 2018 IHF Continental Trophy in Rwanda
Bronze- 2028 African Youth Games in Algeria
Bronze- 2018 African Youth Championship
Silver- 209 IHF Trophy Intercontinental Stage in Kosovo
2nd position- 2018 Prudent Energy Handball League
3rd position- 2019 Prudent Energy Handball League
3rd position- 2021 Prudent Energy Handball League
2nd position- 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo state
1st position- 2022 National Sports Festival in Delta State