The Handball Association of Ghana (HAG) has selected 18 players for the Under-18 boys Africa Youth zones 2&3 championship slated for Lome, Togo this year.
The players were selected after a two-day ‘justify-your-inclusion’ session at the multi-purpose court of the Accra Sports Stadium where 26 players were invited by the technical committee of the association to participate.
The championship is being organised by the French Handball Federation (FHF) in collaboration with the African Handball Confederation (AHC).
The championship is also a developmental project for the youth which would train two young coaches and referees from participating countries.
Participating countries include Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger and Togo.
Speaking to the Times Sports after the training session on Friday, Head Coach of the handball national team, George Bankole said the tournament, which was solely meant for French speaking West African countries had Ghana invited due to the relationship HAG has built with the Francophone countries over the years.
He said the players selected would later be reduced to 12 in order to have the best players for the tournament, explaining that “some of the players are currently enlisted into the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and indications from GAF are that, they might not be allowed to be part of the tournament.”
He said the Association would soon engage the leadership of GAF for permission to allow their players to be part of the tournament.
“This is the reason we have selected 18 players, so that in two weeks time we might be able cut down to 12 after our meeting with the authorities of GAF,” he added.
Mr Bankole said the tournament in Lomé which is scheduled for June 30-July 6 was a training programme for the youth which the association wants to capitialise on to build a formidable team for the 2023 African Games (AG) to be hosted by Ghana.
According to Mr Bankole, the association has drawn a four-year programme with the aim of grooming the current crop of players into the senior national team and help the association present a strong team at the AG in the next four years.
He noted that the team would not participate in this year’s AG in Morocco because “we could not go for the qualifiers which ended exactly a month ago due to lack of funds.”
He urged corporate bodies and other individuals to support the team travel to Togo for the tournament.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU