September, 21 2023.
The national under-18 women's handball team, has received special praise from the leadership of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN), following their historic qualification for the International Handball Federation (IHF) Under-18 world championship, for the very first time on Wednesday.
Nigeria achieved the feat by defeating Morocco 28-14 to also qualify for the semifinals of the African Youth Under-18 women's handball championship, now at its business end, at the Tunisian city of Monastir.
Coach Shittu Adewunmi Agboola tutored ladies dominated the quarterfinal fixture from start to finish, and in fact led the Moroccans 17-5 at the interval.
Speaking exclusively to Sports Day from Monastir, President of the HFN Samuel Ocheho reserved special praise for the players and coaching crew, for writing their names in history.
"From the trajectory of how the team and it's coaches had progressed, from Accra during the West African Zone B championship; and at the IHS Continental challenge in Côte d'Ivoire which they won; it was clear for all to see that this was coming, and am excited to be here in Monastir to witness this historical feat, of our first ever qualification for the world championships".
A visibly excited Sam Ocheho however urged the players to remain focused on their next game, a semifinal duel against Egypt; the fourth North African opposition they will be playing at the tournament, having earlier defeated Algeria and Tunisia at the pools stage.
"Having achieved our first goal which is to qualify for the world championship in China in July/August 2024; I think we can take it further, if we remain focused, committed and disciplined; while avoiding too many turn-overs. Nigeria should be able to beat Egypt as well. But I must say I'm pleased with how far the team has evolved".
Nigeria's Chidera Ogwumsimba a player of Rima Strikers of Sokoto was the tormentor-in-chief against the Moroccans, and was eventually voted the MVP of the match.
Like Nigeria, Egypt are also through to the IHS World Championship; and the semifinal face-off between both countries is scheduled for Friday, at 6.30pm Nigerian time; with the winner going straight to the tournament's final.