Zimbabwe’s hopes of hosting the International Handball Federation Trophy Zone Six tournament this year continue to fade following a spike in Covid-19 cases in a number of countries in the region.
The country won the bid to host the regional event late last year and the tournament had been scheduled for April.
But, it was postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, last month, the African Handball Confederation released a revised calendar for some of their activities.
The Men’s Juniors Africa Nations Championship and Men’s Youth Africa Nations Championship were tentatively re-scheduled for December amid hopes the situation would have normalised.
The International Handball Federation recently held a conference with their members and, among the key issues discussed, was the resumption of activities.
During the conference, attended by more than 120 federations, the international body indicated they were planning to resume activities in October, with the Inter-Continental Trophy, once restrictions were lifted.
With regards to the IHF Trophy tournaments, the international federation advised national federations to engage their governments on the way forward.
The Zimbabwe Handball Federation had been engaging their regional counterparts, trying to find a way forward, for the regional competition.
The tournament serves as a qualifier to the Men’s Juniors Africa Nations Championship and Men’s Youth Africa Nations Championship.
And ZHF president, Stewart Sanhewe, yesterday said the regional tourney remains suspended.
“Most of the Zone Six countriesare saying that they are waiting for clearance from their governments.
“Most of the countries are still in lockdown.
“We intended to host the tournament in September but it looks like September might not be feasible.
“We will liaise with IHF and CAHB, otherwise, for now, the games remain postponed.
“As a country we have not been cleared . . . we did rather prioritise safety as a country,” said Sanhewe.
The ZHF president, who took part in the conference, said they highlighted some of their programmes, and requested for assistance, from the international body.
“We made some requests. The first one was not only for Zimbabwe but for the Southern Africa region.
“We want to provide referees for international games.
“In the past we got referees from Northern Africa to come and officiate, for instance at the IHF Trophy, because they are certified.
“We requested to get an instructor to train our referees so that they can also officiate at these games. We need these guys to give us a chance.
“The second request we put forward was support for our Vision 2024 project. We did that project so that we come up with a strong team to compete at the Olympics.
“We also requested for training of our coaches. We want to upgrade our coaches. We have over 200 D-licensed coaches, which is the lowest grade, so we need to upgrade them,” said Sanhewe.