Ellina Mhlanga — INTERNATIONAL Handball Federation instructor Helmut Martin has urged the Zimbabwe Handball Federation and schools to invest in equipment to complement the efforts by coaches and teachers as he concluded the last of the three coaching courses he conducted in the country in the past two weeks.
German Martin was invited by the ZHF to hold the "Handball at School" courses, targeting mainly teachers. He completed the last one at Northlea High School in Bulawayo on Sunday.
It was attended by 57 participants including some from Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.
He had the first course in Harare with 52 teachers and coaches from Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Mashonaland East attending as well.
The second one was at Jameson High School in Kadoma for Mashonaland West, Midlands and Masvingo with 34 participants.
Martin, whose emphasis has been on continuity of such initiatives to realise the results, said it's crucial that equipment is made available for coaches and teachers to perform their duties.
"I have to say that it was wonderful (having the three courses), we had more than 140 participants and that was a very good number. I am very happy we had so many participants. Secondly, it was wonderful all the participants did their exercises themselves and my big surprise was they came even though it was on holiday. In Germany that will be impossible.
"For handball it was very important, now teachers have the basics they need to coach handball in schools, it's a great number to go and train in schools.
"The most important thing, not only for teachers but also for the clubs, they need equipment, otherwise it will not be possible to train handball the right way," said Martin.
The German coach brought 90 handball balls, whistles, bibs and T-shirts, with the balls set to be distributed to the provinces while some will be reserved for the national teams.
On the state of handball in Africa, Martin said they still need to work on growing the sport on the continent.
"My opinion, I think in Africa handball is down and you can't compare it with European handball. In Germany we have more than one million handball players and now we want handball to grow in Africa. Therefore we started in the right way," said Martin.
ZHF president, Stewart Sanhewe, is hopeful they will be able to maintain the work started by Martin in their bid to grow the sport from grassroots level to national teams.
"We are looking at a situation where we will be able to spread and have handball played in schools. Our major stakeholders are in schools.
"We have a vision for 2024 Olympics. So we said let's start by developing our youngsters," said Sanhewe.
However, the local handball mother-body still has a lot to do considering that most activities are running in schools at the moment and not much has been happening with the national teams.
"We will put together our national teams next year and make sure they are active. For this year we will run with activities in provinces," Sanhewe said.