2 March 2013

Zimbabwe: ZHF Hunting for Patron

THE Zimbabwe Handball Federation is leaving no stone unturned in its endeavour to turn the game into one of the country's well-organised national sport associations and will soon appoint a patron who will help them run the organisation professionally

Amon Madzvamuse, the ZHF president, yesterday said they would like their soon-to-be patron to also give them a "strong" helping hand in their efforts to turn Zimbabwe into a handball powerhouse in Africa.

"We recently came up with a short-list of people, we screened it and we have already identified a respected person in our society whom we would like to appoint as our patron. And as our patron, that person will be like a father-figure to the federation.

"We already enjoy a lot of support from the corporate world and we would like our new patron to act as our guardian as we continue to cultivate our good working relationship with our local sponsors. In fact, we would like to turn the ZHF into a well-organised body which will be run professionally hence our plans to appoint a patron.

"We were all along running the federation without an 'official' patron and we now want to have him in place as we prepare for the 2013 season and beyond," Madzvamuse said.

Kudakwashe Kanengoni, the national handball teams' welfare manager, also said the person they have identified as their new patron is of great repute and they will "unveil" his name in the next couple of weeks.

"We have informally approached this person and once we have him as our new patron, I think this will help the Zimbabwe Handball Federation to grow from strength to strength.

"As you know, the federation was, at one stage, hit by some internal or in-house squabbles which have all been resolved amicably and we are all now working as one big happy family and we would like our new patron to work in a conducive environment in which he will help us to become a major force of handball in Africa," said Kanengoni, who is a farmer and a prominent businessman from Bindura.

Meanwhile, Madzvamuse said the ZHF still have plans to introduce a fully-fledged national league system in this country.

"We do have a number of handball clubs in Zimbabwe but there's little activity going on at the moment because we don't have a viable club system in this country. So, we are looking at how we could change this whole scenario and come up with a properly run national league.

"We can, for example, start from provincial or regional level where we will have one zonal league in the Northern Region and another one in the Southern Region, and at the end of the season we can have a Champion of Champions tournament where we will come up with the national champions," Madzvamuse said.

The ZHF president also said they were looking at approaching the relevant authorities in the uniformed forces to see whether they can assemble handball teams for both men and women.

"In fact, we would like to see a situation whereby the Airforce of Zimbabwe, the army, the police and the Zimbabwe Prison Services will come up with strong teams that will also compete in our national league just like what happens in other African countries such as Egypt, Kenya and Uganda where members of the uniformed forces dominate their national teams."

And if all goes well, Madzvamuse said, they would like to send a team made up of players from the uniformed forces to the African Junior Championships which are scheduled to run from September 21 to 25 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We are looking at sending a women's Under-21 team to the African Junior Championships in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September and we would like to send a very strong team to this event.

"So, we are going to cast our net wide in our selection process of the players for this national team and I wouldn't mind us sending a squad made up of members from the uniformed forces, and that is why we would like to approach them (the uniformed forces) to see whether they can come up or assemble teams that will play in our national league starting from this year," Madzvamuse said.

The last couple of years have seen the ZHF sending national teams to various international tournaments outside the country.

Last March , they sent a boys and girls Under-21 team to the IHF Zone Six Challenge Trophy tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in December a strong team of 80 junior players took part in the Umlazi Handball Club invitational tournament in Durban.

And in July this year, the ZHF will send a boys and girls team for the Partille Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Madzvamuse said the two teams will compete in the Under-13 and 16 age-groups at this year's Partille Cup tournament which is set to run from July 1 to 6.

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.

"In fact, we have a goal and our goal is to try and come up with a strong team for both men and women that will play in the qualifiers of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"We are determined to build a team that will qualify us for Rio 2016 and if we fail, we can still aim to have a shot at the 2020 Olympic Games. So, we can safely say that we already have a 10-year development plan in place which will help us achieve this goal and we are determined to make or see Zimbabwe being a handball powerhouse not only in the Southern African Region but in Africa," Madzvamuse said.

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