Edo State Government has agreed on a four-year deal with the Handball Federation Nigeria (HFN) to sponsor and host the National Division Handball Championship in Benin.
Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, while receiving the HFN caretaker board led by Sam Ocheho, said that the need to join hands with the handball stakeholders to develop the game informed the decision to go into the deal.
He also called for a state league to help develop the game at the grassroots level, which will eventually led to the sustained growth of the game at the national level, adding that Edo State is ready to be used as a pilot for the state league.
He said: “I will use this opportunity to agree to a four-year deal to host and sponsor the Division One Handball League, which will start from the next edition in November. We are happy with what the HFN is doing by taking the sports to all parts of the country.
“I want to challenge the HFN to grow the handball league in a way that qualification will be from state leagues, which in essence provide jobs for players, coaches, backroom staff, and other stakeholders up to the national level,” the Deputy Governor noted.
He also commended the HFN for getting a private sponsor for the Premier League, while commending the Sokoto State Government for bankrolling the National Under 15 and Under 12 championship, which took effect in 2020.
Speaking earlier, Ocheho commended Edo State for providing facilities and other logistics for the National Handball League, currently going on in Benin. He also called for more support for handball noting that the game has the potential of projecting the country in good light.
The HFN caretaker boss noted that his desire is to take the game to an enviable position with the support of the government, the private sector, and all other stakeholders.
He also called for backing for the state team, Edo Dynamos who will be representing Nigeria at the Africa Club Championship in Morocco in August.
Chairman of the Edo State Handball Association, Barrister Emma Akhigbe commended the state government for its support for handball, assuring that the state teams would continue to do well at national and international competitions.