ZIMBABWE have, for the second year running, been invited to send two handball teams to the Partille Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July.
The Partille Cup is a youth team handball competition held in Gothenburg and is open for both boys and girls of ages 10 to 21 years.
It has been held annually since 1970 and organised by a Swede handball club, IK SÃ¤vehof from Partille.
It is the world's largest annual team handball cup tournament by number of contestants.
In fact, the Partille Cup is the world's largest handball tournament for young people and during one week every year, nearly 19 000 participants from 50 countries descend on Gothenburg to participate in the cup.
Many participants remember Partille Cup with joy, perhaps because it is so much more than just handball.
Since its inception, over 300 000 players and leaders from all six continents have taken part in the Partille Cup. Here they enjoy the special feeling that occurs when an entire world meet, socialise, have fun, exchange thoughts and ideas.
According to the organisers of the tournament, the idea of Partille Cup has always been the same: to gather young handball players from all over the world in one place.
The Partille Cup is also a tournament for teams that enjoy challenges, both on and off the court. It is a place where people from around the world can develop their handball skills, meet and spend some time together and make lifelong friendships.
For many young handball-playing nations like Zimbabwe, the tournament is the best way of making own progress as they get the education, the feeling and the rhythm of their beloved sport. Where else can you find 3 000 matches and 160 referees in one place? This year's tournament has been slated to run from July 1 to 6 with the finals set to be staged in Valhalla and Scandinavium in Gothenburg.
And Amon Madzvamuse, the president of the Zimbabwe Handball Federation, said yesterday that they were going to send two teams to represent the country at this year's edition of the tournament.
Zimbabwe first took part in this tournament in July last year.
"We, the ZHF, are pleased to announce that we have once again been invited to compete in the Partille Cup in Gothenburg. We received the invitation in December last year and the organisers indicated that they will meet our accommodation, food and transport expenses once we are in Sweden.
"And since this is a tournament designed for the youths, we have decided to send a boys and girls team who will compete in the Under-13 and 16 age-groups at this year's Partille Cup. Each team will have 16 players and four officials, and this means a delegation of 40 people will be taken care of by the organisers of the Partille Cup during this year's tournament in Gothenburg. However, we are free to send more teams to this tournament but they will have to pay for all their expenses once they are there," Madzvamuse said.
Two Zimbabwean referees have also been invited to officiate at this year's Partille Cup.
"We are going to release the names of these two officials in due course but the most important thing for us is to identify and pick the players for the two teams that have been officially invited to take part in this year's Partille Cup and the players will be picked from various schools and clubs.
"Preparations to take part in this tournament are already underway and we have already come up with a fund-raising committee which is going to help us in raising the funds for this trip as we are currently working on a group fare of US$1 200 per person which will enable us to send two representative sides to this year's Partille Cup," Madzvamuse said.
The ZHF boss said their participation in this year's Partille Cup will help them identify talented players that they will groom and nurture for major international tournaments in the future.