Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE has pulled out of the handball qualifiers for the 11th edition of the All-Africa Games after failing to secure enough funding.
Zonal qualifiers are slated for next week with Zambia playing host to the Zone Six qualifiers, running from March 10-13. Zimbabwe Handball Federation secretary-general Alphios Magiya said failure to secure corporate and government guarantees in terms of funding had left them with no option but to pull out.
“We will not be sending out teams for the qualifiers because we failed to secure funding,” said Magiya.
The secretary-general said it was the first time that handball has had to use qualifiers to participate at the All-Africa Games as previously rankings were used. According to a circular from the handball Zone Six president Ruth Saunders, registration fees for participation in the qualifiers is pegged at 500 Euros per team while accommodation is 60 Euros per day per person.
For its two teams, men and women, Zimbabwe needs slightly more than 15,000 Euros. The women had already come up with their 28-member provisional squad so the failure to participate should be very demoralising for both players and coaches.
“We had selected 28 players, 14 from the Southern Region and an equal number from the Northern Region which we were going to trim to 14 for the final travelling squad,” said Zimbabwe’s assistant coach Sibulisiwe Okamafuza Mpofu last week.
The handball federation will however come under heavy criticism for failing to entice the corporate world having been informed by the African Handball Confederation of the qualifiers dates in November last year. Charles Omboumahou, the continental body’s secretary-general sent a circular to all the national federations on November 18, 2014, advising that the qualifiers will be held in late February and early March.
“We’ve the pleasure of reminding you that in anticipation of the 11th All Africa Games which take place in September 2015 in Brazzaville (Congo), some preliminary phases are planned by end of February and early March 2015. For that we send you the specifications for a better organisation and an actual participation of the federations per Zone,” wrote Omboumahou.
According to the same circular, only one team will qualify in the men’s category while two places are reserved for women.