De Defenders target first position

Sunday Ajana, the head coach of De Defenders of Abuja, on Saturday said his team would work hard to win the next edition of the Prudent Energy Handball Premier League.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the male handball side ended the league’s 2019 edition in fifth place on the final table with 31 points.

Their female counterparts, Defender Babes, also owned by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), finished sixth with 15 points in the female category of the just-concluded competition.

The second and final phase of the league was held in Lagos from Oct. 5 to last Wednesday.

Ajana, who is also the head coach of Defenders Babes, told NAN in Abuja that there was however a need to have new players.

He pointed out that this would help to strengthen the club ahead of the next edition of the league in 2020.

The coach said most of his male team players fell sick during the competition in Lagos.

“My players were treating malaria during their games. Most of them were placed on injection. Injury was also one of the factors that made them perform averagely.

“One of the players even fainted in the hotel after one of the games. So, they tried their best in the competition. At least we ended in fifth position.

“We lost our two last games against Niger United and Kano Pillars. If we had defeated them, we would have probably finished first on the table.

“The female team also performed averagely in their games.

“But now, we need to recruit young new players to reinforce the team ahead of the next edition,” he said.

Ajana said NSCDC used 16 male and 15 female players in the competition, with most of them having been playing for the club for past 15 years.

“So, we need to replace them with new young players,” he added.

NAN reports that 12 male and 10 female clubs participated in the second phase of the just-ended 2019 Prudent Energy Handball Premier League.