17 December 2018

Nigeria: HFN Berates Niger State Director of Sports for Match Disruption

The Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) has condemned Niger State unsportsmanlike behaviour during the final match between Niger and Delta states at the 19th National Sport festival in Abuja.

HFN's President, Samuel Ocheho described the disruption of the final led by the Niger State Director of Sports, Alhaji Baba Sheshi, as disgraceful and shameful.

He said the board would not allow detractors with political leaning destroy the game they are striving so much to build.

Ocheho said despite the sorry incident, the quality of play during the festival is a pointer to the fact that handball is moving forward, adding that the country will soon start reaping the harvest from the seeds currently sown.

He said the identified players involved in the disruption would surely be sanctioned including the players, who did not make it to the festival team and were involved.

He said: "There were loads of upset in the games and most of the teams predicted to win did not eventually emerge champions.

"However, all the great things that happened at the game were marred by the unsportsmanlike display of Team Niger and its supporters on the final day of the championship where the fans and some players engaged in beating up the referees because they lost. That action alone nearly eroded all the gains of 2018 for me."

Ocheho said, "Most shameful to me is the fact that a respected handball former international, who is the secretary of a sporting association can jump into the field in the middle of a game trying to caution a referee.

"As if that was not enough, the Director of Sports of Niger State led his supporters into the field few seconds to the end of the game when they were losing to disrupt the game and beat up the referees of the game in front of the commissioner of sports of Niger and other top dignitaries around. Niger United won the Prudent Energy League in Lagos and were not threatened or intimidated by the fans; instead everyone was happy".

"What else can be more disgraceful and shameful? As a board we condemn in totality the behaviour of Team Niger and its supporters led by its director of sports and this would surely be addressed by the board in due course," he added.

The handball boss said, "However, for 2019 we are fully loaded and ready to meet with the challenges it brings and the board is poised to do better in 2019. We would not allow detractors with political leaning destroy the game we are striving so much to build."

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