The Liberia National Handball Association (LNHA), quoting a release from the African Handball Association, have announced new dates for the IHF Trophy Tournament in Niamey, Niger.
The International Handball Federation (IHF) Zone 3 Tournament, scheduled from March 25-30, is rescheduled from April 9-14 at the original venue, according to Mr. J. Mason Saweler, LNHA president.
He said the IHF Zone 3 Tournament will be participated by eight nations in the West African sub-region. The host nations are Niger, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Liberia.
Saweler said the reason for the change in dates was due to a request by the Handball Federation of Nigeria that was approved by the IHF.
He said the change in the dates is an advantage because it will give the Liberian delegation few days to get ready for the tournament.
Saweler said all delegations are expected to arrive in Niamey, Niger, on or before April 8. The tournament will run from 08-14 and the teams will leave Niamey for their respective countries on April 15.
He said the IHF Trophy tournament is an important competition that forms a large part of the IHF mission to grow and develop handball around the world.
The competition gives Liberia a chance to play in continental and international competitions, as well as secure workshops from the IHF to train coaches and referees who are required to support the development of the game in elementary, junior and senior high schools across the country.
According to Saweler, all five IHF continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, Pan-America, and Oceania – take part throughout each competition cycle consisting initially of zonal competitions within the continent deciding the final line-up for the men’s and women’s continental competition.
He said after evaluating the previous years’ progression of the development of handball, the IHF has announced changes to the system of competition in the IHF Trophy, to boost the project not only at a junior level but also at a youth level with the introduction of the IHF Trophy into both age groups in both genders for 2018.
Now the IHF Trophy – Junior Competition will be for players born in 1998 and later and the IHF Trophy – Youth Competition will be for players born in 2000 and later.
In addition to expanding the reach of age ranges, the IHF Trophy – for junior teams only – has now been upgraded to a qualification event for the IHF Men’s and Women’s Junior World Championship, while both ages range for the IHF Trophy competitions have now been fully integrated into the IHF Calendar, meaning the men’s and women’s competitions will alternate each year, starting with the men’s competitions this year (2018) and the women’s next year (2019), Saweler quoted an IHF release.
Saweler said as part of the continued support for developing handball nations, the IHF will cover the travel expenses of all teams to the competition’s venues, with invited nations requested to register 14 players per team to complete with two coaches and one Head of Delegation.
Saweler expressed the need for Liberia to be represented in the two categories in a sub-regional competition that all eight nations are expected to be in attendance.