By Collin Matiza
ONE of Germany’s most revered handball instructors Helmut Martin is expected to arrive in Harare today to conduct three high level international coaching courses for local coaches and school teachers.
Martin, who is coming to this part of the world at the invitation of the Stewart Sanhewe-led Zimbabwe Handball Federation board, is scheduled to arrive in the country this afternoon ahead of the more than week-long coaching courses which will take place in Harare, Kadoma and Bulawayo from tomorrow to April 17.
Harare’s Queen Elizabeth School will be the first port of call for the 67-year-old German handball instructor who will run his opening coaching course designed for local coaches and school teachers from Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Harare and Manicaland Provinces.
This course is expected to run for three days from tomorrow to Sunday.
It will be followed by another three-day coaching course at Jameson High School in Kadoma from April 11 to 13 with participants from Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland West Provinces expected to take part.
The third and final three-day coaching course to be conducted by Martin is scheduled for April 14 to 16 at Northlea High School in Bulawayo and is open for interested handball coaches and schoolteachers from Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo Provinces.
These three coaching courses are part of the International Handball Federation’s “Handball at School” programme which is designed for junior coaches and schoolteachers who coach the sport to 12-year-olds and below.
Edison Chirowodza, the ZHF secretary-general, confirmed yesterday that Martin was already on his way to Zimbabwe and will be arriving in Harare this afternoon ahead of his first coaching course at Queen Elizabeth School this weekend.
“I can safely say that all is set for the arrival of Helmut Martin in Zimbabwe tomorrow (today) where he will conduct three high level IHF approved international coaching courses in Harare, Kadoma and Bulawayo over a period of nine days.
“These are more of ‘train the trainer’ coaching courses across the country and each province should send 20 participants who will in turn run similar courses or programmes in their districts.
“We are expecting 60 participants for each coaching course and we already have a full house for the first one which will be held at Queen Elizabeth School in Harare this weekend because 20 coaches from Manicaland have already confirmed their participation at this event,” Chirowodza said.
Meanwhile, Martin recently told a regional German daily newspaper — Allgemeine Zeitung — in his home town of Billerbeck that he was looking forward to his visit of Zimbabwe which is the second attempt to teach sport in the framework of the “Handball at school” programme of the International Handball Federation’s International Handicrafts Association, to teach teachers in this country.
“I am also taking a lot with me,” he told Allgemeine Zeitung, referring to his previous assignments in Armenia, Mongolia, the Faroe Islands, South Africa and Papua New Guinea. Each tour was an adventure.
This will not be the same again this time. He will give three courses in three cities in Harare, Bulawayo and Kadoma, starting from tomorrow.
The former trainer of the DJK/VBRS handballers can only speculate about the conditions he will find.
“In Harare and Kadoma there are obviously tennis courts available to me, in Bulawayo a grass field place.”
Chalk and tape, to delimit the field of handlebars, he has carefully in the luggage. Gates should be available — unlike in Papua-New Guinea, where shorthand which had to be welded.
Otherwise Martin will have to know how to help. A booklet of the IHF is available with numerous exercises, which are to be taught to the teachers, so that they can pass them on to their students. The only problem: “I will not be able to do any of these exercises.”
Benches, boxes, medicine balls, all misrepresentation.
“There is practically no equipment in Zimbabwe,” says the 67-year-old, who has made some jokes from his previous journeys: “You can take plastic bottles instead of hats.” What happens when it rains in African autumn? Or whether the course planned over the Easter days in a country with an 85 percent Christian population can take place at all? Martin must be surprised. Nevertheless, he is extremely pleased with his sixth mission in handball development aid. He wants to get closer to the sport, to teach simple forms of exercise. Dexterity, co-ordination, especially simple games with which the teachers can deal with their children.
And for himself, the retired sports and geography teacher will again take on many experiences. With the people on the spot, but also with nature.
“The organisers in Zimbabwe want to make it possible for me to make a trip to the north-western border,” says Martin, looking forward to a special experience: “To see the Victoria Falls is a dream.”