Coach Salami hopes Nigeria clinch World Cup ticket
Rafiu Salami, the head coach of Nigeria’s senior men’s national handball team, expressed hope in Abuja on Friday that the team would secure a ticket to the World Cup.
The team, also known as the Golden Arrows, will depart Nigeria for Egypt on Saturday for qualifying.
Salami said the team showed commitment and spirit to do well in the competition.
“They worked hard in their training sessions at camp. They played a lot of friendly matches in a campsite close to the cantonment of Aguiyi Ironsi.
“I’ve always advised them to be focused and determined; and with dedication they will have a good performance in the championship. We are determined to make the country proud during the championship,” the coach said.
He added that the team is ready to surpass its previous position in the last edition organized in Tunisia. “We finished 10th out of 16 departments that participated in the last edition of the championship in Tunisia.
“This year we will fight to be in the top five so that we can get a ticket to participate in the World Cup in Poland and Sweden in 2023.
“The tournament is for the champion of champions and we know the strength of each country. We will fight well to defeat them all.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that we will go home with a medal and make the country proud.
“We will continue to work hard to make sure we do well in the championship because our goal is to qualify for the World Championship,” Salami said.
A total of 14 countries will participate in the championship in Cairo, Egypt. Nigeria are grouped in Group C alongside Tunisia and Cape Verde.
Group A features Egypt, Morocco and Cameroon while Algeria, Gabon, Guinea and Kenya are in Group B. Group D features Angola, DR Congo, Senegal and Zambia .
Nigeria will play their first game against Tunisia on July 11 and their second game against Cape Verde on July 12.
The championship will also serve as the African qualifying tournament for the 2023 World Men’s Handball Championship in Poland and Sweden.
The top five countries will represent the continent at the World Cup.
Nigeria have appeared in all 11 editions of the African Men’s Handball Nations Cup with their best outing coming in 1998 in South Africa where they finished 4th after losing to Egypt 35-26. They finished in 10th position in the last edition in Tunisia.
The 25th edition of the African Men’s Handball Championship is scheduled in Egypt from July 9-19.