THE financially- strapped Handball 15-member contingent is still stuck in the country as the under-17 ninth edition of the Male Handball Africa Championship kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya yesterday, March 14th.
The Zambian team, ranked second in Southern Africa, was supposed to open its campaign with a clash against the host nation today.The squad is expected to leave for Kenya this afternoon via Kenneth Kaunda international Airport.
By yesterday, the Handball Association of Zambia (HAZ) had not raised the K295,000 from the K300,000 budget.
But HAZ general secretary Josab Changa said in an interview that Zambia’s opening match against Kenya had been pushed to today, March 15th.
“We have not managed to mobilise the funds that we needed and we received a call from the African Handball Confederation (CAHB) because they were expecting Zambia to in Nairobi by Thursday, and we decided that we should travel with the resources that we have at hand.
We informed the CAHB of our challenges and asked them to reschedule our game to Sunday which they accepted,” Changa said.
Changa said the association will be forced to send the team with the available resources so that Zambia does not miss out on the 2014 Nanjing Junior Olympics as the Kenya tournament is Africa’s qualifying round for the Junior Olympics.
He said HAZ had engaged the office of the Vice-President that has since assured the team that the Zambian diplomatic mission in Nairobi will look after the team.
Changa, however, said the National Organisation for Women in Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation (NOWSPAR) had stepped in to help resolve accommodation challenges for the Zambian contingent.
“We are relieved that NOWSPAR has assisted us with accommodation arrangements. They have contacted their Kenyan counterparts who will provide accommodation for us at very cheaper rates and we are thankful for that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zambia has won the bid to host the 2014 International Handball Federation (IHF) Zone Six Challenge in September.
Zambia beat three Southern African bidders South Africa, Lesotho and Mozambique to claim the rights to host the tournament.
“The IHF Secretariat in Switzerland contacted HAZ to inform us about our successful bid and we are very happy that Zambia’s efforts and prowess in this sport are being recognised. They have since asked us to draw up a program for preparations so that they can provide us with logistical support,” he added.