Stakeholders have praised the Sam Ocheho led board of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) for facilitating the services of foreign referees for the just concluded Prudent Energy Handball Premier League 2022 phase 1 in Abuja
Confederation of Africa Handball (CAHB) bagged referees from Morocco and Gabon were part of the selected referees that officiated at the first phase of league this season and this, according to stakeholders who spoke to HFN TV, has improve the standard of officiating in the Prudent Energy Handball Premier League 2022.
The duo of the Moroccan referees, Mr. El-Mouniri Achraf and Mr. Chouraki Mohamed and the duo of female referees from Gabon, Aishat Oduo and Olga Namadjia officiated some vital matches with excellent results which produced applauses and plaudits from team officials, players and fans who had previously criticised the level of officiating in previous leagues.
There were also some high level training seminars for coaches, officials, and umpires of handball organised by the HFN in conjunction with the sponsor of the Handball League, Prudent Energy And Services Ltd.
Coach of Seasider Boys and Seasider Babes of Lagos, Coach Bukola Duru, while speaking to HFN Media, said the idea of these referees to officiate in the league has helped grown the sport further with a better mentality.
“I was happy for the development because it helped the growth of handball in the country as the foreign referees in the cause of their duty gave us the privilege as officials to see how the sport is being played and appreciated in other climes
“It has also the given the coaches a better understanding of how handball is officiated because previously some coaches have the mentality that referees have a side but that changed in the course of the phase 1 of the league.
A member of the board of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) Coach Bala Mohammed said the President of the federation, Mr. Samuel Ocheho decided to invite the foreign referees to help improve the efficiency of the local referees
“The president Mr. Samuel Ocheho bought the idea of bringing the Foreign CAHB badged referees because he realised that league has a wide coverage and as such the standard of the officiating needed to be top notch.
With that even the Confederation of Africa Handball knows that Nigeria is back to the best of handball.” Coach Bala said.
In an opinion poll taken from several players playing for the 22 teams in the Prudent Energy Handball Premier League 2022 by HFN Media, saw that the players were happy the phase 1 of the league had better officiating and the results were not contentious.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of CAHB’s Playing Rule Commission Diabate Mamodou who is from the Ivory Coast, has praised HFN President for giving the team of officials from the continental handball body the opportunity to be in Nigeria to help in the revival of the sport in the country.
Mamodou, who spoke to HFN Media during the the first phase of the just concluded Prudent Energy Handball Premier League 2022, said the development is a new evolution for handball in Nigeria as the country is trying to get back their lost glory as it was in the 1980s and early 1980s.
“For me it is a new evolution for handball in Nigeria as you know the country is big and we can help Nigeria to get their best back and so we are trying to help the federation in the training of the officials and coaches”. Mamodou, who also conducted high level refreshal courses and seminars for coaches and players of the teams as well as referees and officials in the course of the phase 1 period of the league in Abuja, said.
“The league is big and the HFN wrote to CAHB for badged referees to be in Nigeria to officiate for the integrity of the league and we came and we have seen that this league is big.
We have got great support from the referee body in Nigeria. We won’t stop and the project is to ensure we have CAHB badged referees from Nigeria back on international competition” Mamodou concluded.
Recall that the Phase 1 of the just concluded Prudent Energy Handball Premier League 2022 ended recently in Abuja with Kano Pillars and Safety leading the league tables for the Men and Women Category respectively.