Handball Association of Zambia (HAZ) says its national Super league has been suspended because of the Under 17 and under 20 national teams that are preparing for the Africa Cup in September.
The league will resume after the Handball Africa Cup on 3rd October, 2018.
In an interview with News Diggers Sports, HAZ president, Victor Banda, also said before both teams travel for Africa Cup in September, the under-17 will go to Kigali, Rwanda for a competition that will attract the top six nations in Africa as it is a prerequisite to qualify for World Cup tournament. Banda said the under-17 squad will be in Kigali from August 7 to 13, this year.
“The competition in Kigali cannot be forgone and only attend the Africa Cup as it is a mandatory prerequisite to qualify for world cup for all the top six countries in Africa. It is also important to note that the Zambia under- 17 and under-20 teams are the zone five and and zone six champions so their participation is much anticipated by other countries, ” he said.
The two teams are scheduled to travel to Morocco for the Africa Cup tournament slated for September 3 to 23.
And under 20 coach Andrew Kalingalinga said his team will remain a mystery to other countries and will use that as an advantage against them.
“Countries will not see the old Zambia handball team they saw two years ago. I have new tactics that will catch them off-guard and help us win,” Kalunga said.
Meanwhile, Banda bemoaned transport challenges handball teams that are participating in the national league face.
He said even though the league games are strategically scheduled to be played on month ends, some teams still fail to travel because of luck of sponsorship.
The HAZ president, however said leniency is exercised to such teams by ensuring they do not lose points in that manner.
“Teams that fail to travel for a league game do not lose points but are given a second chance to play the game. We do this in order to grow the sport in all parts of the country,” said Banda.
Asked on plans of having a midlands league to avoid transportation challenges by teams from other provinces, Banda said a midlands league would cut-off other provinces and lead to unfair selection of players for the national team.
He explained the logic as a measure to ensure that player selection for the national is done fairly in all provinces.
He also noted a midland league would birth a strong team that would face weak competition from other regions. “Come next year, we want each province to have one strong team that will consistently and competitively participate in the national league,” he said.