Following Zimbabwe's youth and junior women handball teams' participation at the just-ended IHF Challenge Trophy Zone Six, one of the coaches Clemence Tauro says the event gave them an insight of the work they need to put in if they are to challenge for top spots at regional level.
Zimbabwe had two teams at the tournament, with the Under-18 (youth) finishing fifth out of the 10 competing teams. The Under-20 (junior) side came fourth after losing to 25-33 to Mozambique in the third and fourth place play-offs.
The junior team had earlier on lost 21-30 to Madagascar in the semi-finals.
Madagascar and Zambia were the champions in the junior and youth sections respectively.
Tauro, who was in charge of the youth team, conceded that they need to pull their socks up if they are to make an impression in the region.
"The team did fine in terms of performance. We played three games in the tournament and lost one game. Unfortunately it was the qualifying match.
"However, the level of competition displayed in the finals gave us some homework as a country. We need junior handball academies instead of relying on schools. Zambia is doing fine because they have their Youth Olympic Centre and their teams don't take a break from training even when (they are) out of camp. "Madagascar and Mozambique, they have the same training policy as well. There is need to avail resources, for instance we camped using hard surface for netball court at Girls High School in Harare which is almost half the size of the handball court and without a polished surface which makes players to be afraid of practicing some skills as they can get injured," said Tauro.