By Osaretin Emuze
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau state branch, Reverend David Bamidele has lamented the falling standard of Handball in Nigeria, despite the abundance of talents in the country.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard Sports during the male handball final of the just concluded National Sports Festival in Lagos, the former national handball captain expressed shock at the standard of handball in Nigeria.
“It is sad that handball is at is lowest ebb right now in the country. After watching the final match of the festival between Lagos and Borno, I wept because handball standard is gone. This is not the fault of the players but that of the Association officials who refused to improve on the once enviable sport in Africa. During my time, handball was high up there, we played across the world and represented Nigeria in major competitions. We had competitions every other month, but today the reverse is the case,” he stressed.
The former Handball chairman of the Plateau State Sports Council said the lukewarm and I-don’t-care attitude of the executive members of the Association contributed immensely to the fallen standard of handball.
“There are no commitments from those who run handball in Nigeria. They are no longer interested in the sports as it was in the past. When General Ishola Williams was the chairman, companies fell head over hills to sponsor handball. We moved from competition to competition, our standard was very high because we competed with the very best in world handball,” he lamented.
He however, said there will soon be light at the end of the tunnel. “We can no longer fold our hands and watch handball die in the country. I have decided to cease the bull by the horn by taking over the chairmanship position.
Handball must not die, the only way is not to stand aloof and watch it degenerate but to be part of the revival. As a clergy man, I have told my God that I want to take handball to the next level. I have discussed with former players on the way forward for handball and we have resolved to be involved.
General Williams was an exemplary character, he took handball to high heavens and made it a house hold name. I am going to copy his style of administration; I will bring back sponsors to the sport that was one of the best in this part of the Nigeria,” he emphasized.
Reverend Bamidele said handball gave him life and the only way to pay back is to takeover the Federation and return it to winning ways.
“The youths are no longer encouraged to play handball because of lack of sponsorship. As a clergyman, I will use my connection to attract sponsors for the federation. I played the game to the highest level, I captained the national team at the junior and senior levels, at both the African and world championships. I am aware of the problems of the federation,” he said.