Zambia under 20 Handball national team declared ready for AFCON
Handball Association of Zambia (HAZ) has declared the men’s under-20 national team side ready for next month’s Handball Africa Cup slated for Rabat in Morocco.
HAZ President Victor Banda who was speaking in an interview on Wednesday with the NOCZ media said the team had done enough preparations to expect positive results ahead of the bi-annual junior competition which returns this year for the first time since 2017 due to challenges posed by coronavirus.
This year’s tournament has stakes higher than prize money for the 12 participating teams with six slots up for grabs for a place at next year’s world cup in Hungary.
Zambia who qualified as champions of Southern Africa through the Zone 6 championships will battle it out with Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Angola, Tunisia, Nigeria, Guinea and the host country Morocco.
Banda is upbeat about Zambia’s chances and believes there will be no excuse for failure to do well this year.
“The team is prepared, according to the technical director, it is ready and this is the first time that we want to qualify for the World Cup, given six slots we have to qualify and there will be no excuses.
“We have the talent and they have been playing as team from under-14 so they have experience. The country should expect that the team should qualify, there’s no way we can miss six out of 12 teams,” he said.
This will be the country’s third appearance at the tournament in this particular age group. The previous two were in Rwanda in 2017 and Kenya in 2014 with the best finish being a fourth place.
Training is already underway at OYDC – Sports Development Centre and 25 players have been called for the provisional squad but are expected to be trimmed down to 16 before the team leaves for Morocco on March 7. The competition will run from March 9 to 14th.
And Banda revealed that his federation is in discussion with the Ministry of Sport to facilitate the team’s budget for the tournament which stands at K1.9 million.