Nigerian handball team for this year’s African Handball Nations Championship departed for the venue of the tournament in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday without the Chief Coach and his assistant.
The first batch of Nigerian delegation to the Nations Cup which equally serves as African qualifying tournament for the Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil and the 2017 World’s Men Handball Championship left for Cairo with players and some technical officials, while the second batch which include Coach Fidelis Obi, his assistant and four players will hit the venue a day after Nigeria might have played their first match against Cameroon at the Cairo Stadium on 21 January.
Coach Obi confirmed the delay in their trip which he said was caused by lack of funds, a situation which forced the Nigeria Handball Federation to split the delegation into two.
Notwithstanding this shoddy arrangement, Coach Obi is still optimistic that Nigeria will do well at the Nations Cup.
He added that he would have been in the first batch, but he had to forfeit his seat for a senior technical official in the federation who was due to attend an important meeting in Cairo.
President of the federation, Yusuf Dauda also confirmed the development. He said the shortage of funds forced them to leave the coach behind, adding that arrangement is in place for the other batch to join the delegation in Cairo.
“The coach will join the team. It was fund that caused the hitches and with the help of the National Sports Commission which was aware of the problem, we have been able to put some logistics together for us to attend the championship in Cairo. I will also be joining the team soon,” the president said.
Teams for the tournament arrived Cairo on Wednesday with matches beginning Thursday.
Nigeria are in Group A with hosts Egypt, seven times African champions Algeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Morocco. Group B comprises Tunisia, Angola, Congo, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.
Nigeria, who finished fourth in the Brazzaville 2015 All Africa Games, open their campaign against Cameroon on 21 January. They face their hosts on 22 January and take on Gabon the next day. Nigeria engage Morocco on 25 January and end their group assignments with a tough clash against Algeria the following day.