By Sunny Canto
"In a remarkable year, amid Covid-19 treats that hampered 2020 season, ever ready Mr. Sam Ocheho initiated palliatives distributions to the HFN family and friends.
Nevertheless, few weeks ago at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, after the Sporting Federations elections and inauguration ceremony, the trailblazer, digital President, saddle upon himself to redeem the lapses cause due to the absent of the colorful league.
Ocheho therefore began his re-elected (4 years) tenure with an introductory board meeting, before monitoring and supervising handball activities in ilorin, Kwara State during the National Youth Games then 2021 (One phase) Prudent Energy Handball Premier League to prove critics wrong.
Speaking to news men, "We're returning to the old format, of hosting (First and Second) phase league in 2022, also intend to give the teams resting time as well as preparation space ahead" he told.
"I'm glad this edition was more fascinating and competitive, but having one phase is as a result of Covid-19 challenges; definitely will resume double phase in the forthcoming Calender" Ocheho add.
Amazingly, Handball Federation of Nigeria under his watch as a leader, also has experience age grade tournaments like U-12/15 Sokoto, Division 1 Benin, U-18/21 Lagos, plus the latest rebranded and digitalize format.
However, the game is widely followed and streamed via HFN TV, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, IG, website, news houses, is one of the most trending sports in Nigeria and global headlines, according to sports pundits and spectators.
Incredibly, short clock timing was introduced in 2021 season, increased in HD pictures, team subsidy, Referee's and MVPs daily awards, panels reviewing matches, stats for 105 games played at Indoor and Velodrome, water bottles, bags for players and officials; of course quality branded jerseys.
Excitedly, the medal table instabilities, as most teams couldn't predict their position due to many surprises and upsets that gave Kano Pillars and Safety Babes not just the continental tickets but trophies.
In closing the two program, was a mouthwatering, historical fixtures, presentations coupled with exceptional talents display from athletes; one must applaud the sponsors.
By Sunny Canto
Hope is given to Governor Uzodinma people as honourable Chika Ogu, Imo State Sports Commissioner, graced the final ceremony of the 2021 Prudent Energy Handball Premier League held in Abuja.
The astute Sports administrator, who earlier visited the Imo Grasshoppers players on several occasions, decided to carve time from his busy schedule to re boost their morale.
In an eventful final Day 14 of HFN league award ceremony, yesterday November 3rd at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, where he comfortably monitored the athletes, encouraged them before granting Press audience.
"We must motivate them, because they performed incredibly well; thank God our Governor: Senator Hope Uzodinma is a Sport loving leader and since his assumption into office, there's drastic improvement in the sector"
Ogu add, "He's optimistic the Orlu and Okigwe Stadium will be refurbish soon because the State Government target is to take people of the streets through Sporting activities"
"Dan Anyam Stadium that's under construction will soon be ready; also, hosting international sport event is what his excellency is looking forward to" he disclosed.
"Very soon, our Imo Lions will return and the Imo Grasshoppers Stadium will be completed" he affirm.
Imo Grasshoppers that finished third with twenty-three points at off the nine games played, won seven and loss only two seems to be a hard-nut to crack as far as Handball is concern.
Earlier, the Chairman, Mr. Obi Cletus, said "The teams have improved than were it's was last time, we have tried to set up the teams abit and the results have shown and we have not loss any match"
"In Nigeria Handball, we're known, but the team have aged which you could see still there's experience; we recruited some young players and everythings started going on well" he confirm.
Imo trounced Bayelsa 36-26, beat Edo 25-18, won Defenders 24-19, outclass Confluence 28-20 but fell 22-26 to Safety, edge Peacocks 23-18, loss 31-38 to Adorable, pommel Seasiders 32-23 and maul Kada 32-24 in their last match.
Conclusion, if welfare, medical, tactical attention is given, winning laurels will be a easy task.
By Sunny Canto
In a colorful award and remarkable ceremony that began with Nigeria National Anthem as Abuja base team: Safety Shooters lock huns with Niger United at MKO, Abiola Stadium, Abuja with all personalities from all works of life in attendance.
Much esteem Handball Federation of Nigeria, assembled and hosted twenty-two teams, ten Women and twelve Men in the Federal Capital Territory since October for her annual Prudent Energy Handball Premier League, which roundup in style.
Sam Ocheho told news men, "Its been an excellent, wonderful tournament, because every team is beating one another, which shows the League is improving and that's what we will keep doing"
Adding, "Expect more eventful and great things from us by next season, we also plan to look into our drawing board, amend the lapses; certainly, there will be first and second phase" he assured.
Nevertheless, there's no gain without mentioning those who canvass, partner, worked with HFN throughout this season.
Kano Pillars who were crown winners of the men's category aftermath thrashing Sokoto Rima 29-19, while highly motivated Safety Shooters emerged second position as they maul Niger United 26-19 goals in the decider match.
Undisputed Adorable Angels that came first in the previous edition, experience a shocking loss of 21-23 by Edo Dynamos of Benin, who took back a pound of flesh due to last season results but one time continental team: Imo Grasshoppers settle for third position.
Bronze medalist team Commissioner of Sports hinted Journalists, "The girls did well, but we hope to increase their welfare and motivate them further, so they can do better" Ogu add.
Coach Solomon Yola, "Thank God we're in this position and we're super excited, because you win some, loss some; although we didn't underrated any teams" he summarized.
Coincidentally, Kano Pillars and Safety Babes won 2019 and 2021 title's as they will resent Nigeria teams in the continental level.
The mouthwatering event that welcomed spectators allover the world via HFN TV, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter; also witnessed a lot of incentives, cash rewards, trophies and laurels as all guests who ate, drank to their satisfaction.
In summary, HFN didn't just digitalize, rebranded their leagues and age group activities only, but worked tirelessly to host an hitch-free competition.
By Sunny Canto
Incredibly, things are falling in shape for some while others are hunt; for Bayelsa Queens and Confluence Queens of Kogi been confirmed relegated to the lower division, after concluding their matches of the 2021 Prudent Energy Nigeria Handball Premier League, which ends today, in Abuja.
A disappointed Bayelsa Queens was defeated 23-24 by Plateau Peacocks of Jos, to place 9th, one spot above Confluence Queens who lost their last match 26-32 to FRSC Safety Babes of Abuja.
Similarly, Plateau Vipers of Jos were relegated from the men's section after losing to Lagos Seasider Boys 25-26 earlier today, at the Indoor Sports Hall of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
The Vipers from Plateau joined Chief of Army Staff (COAS) team in dropping to Division One, after the Army team was automatically relegated in line with rules of the league, concern teams who fail to take part in the competition.
In yesterday's Day 13 game decided in the women's category, Imo Grasshoppers of Owerri trounced Kada Queens of Kaduna 32-24; before Safety Babes won the Abuja derby by beating the NSCDC Defender Babes 27-23, to reclaimed the title, they won in 2019.
In the Men's League, Police Machine defeated Plateau Vipers of Jos 29-26, to retain their status in the Premier league; while Niger United of Minna defeated Lagos Seasider Boys 31-26, to keep alive their hopes of winning the title for the first time, since 2018.
Meanwhile, Rima Strikers of Sokoto thrashed Kada Stars of Kaduna 31-25, but the defeat proved less costly, as they managed to beat the drop.
Elsewhere, a very youthful Tojemarine Academy of Lagos, ended their debut season in the Premier League in style with a 32-28 victory over the NSCDC Defenders of Abuja.
Conclusively, HFN and his Sam Ocheho board have brought Handball into limelight in recent years also, plan a color closing ceremony as age grade, National teams, Division One players has improved drastically.
By Sunny Canto
"Better is the end of a thing than the beginning" as the saying goes, HFN 2021 Prudent Energy Handball Premier League season is gradually coming to a close; but so many upset, historical, euphoria moment recorded.
Bayelsa Queens, who debut in this edition aftermath a flawless outing is yet to claim their third win, having won 26-14 against Confluence Queens, Seasides Babes 31-30 but hope to beat Plateau Peacocks.
According to Bayelsa Coach Opuene Yekorogba,
"We only prepared for two weeks before coming to Abuja, we need more motivation from our government but tomorrow winning is sure, so we can remain in the league" he assured.
However, Blessing Peter (Skipper) of the team said, "Our fans should expect a wonderful game, though its been tough due to late release of funds and no enough camping" she affirm.
Amazingly, the 2019 second runner up: Safety Babes have emerge 2021 Women champions as result of today victory despite a slow start of 11-16 at first quarter; the quick recovery from Coach Innocent Chukuma side earn them 27-23 victory.
While sophisticated Niger United won Lagos based Seasiders 31-26 goals as Kada woefully loss 25-31 Sokoto Rima and first time League appearing and talented side Tojemarine sink De Defenders 32-28 in aj one sided game.
Speaking, head Coach told us, "We FRSC are fully supported by our commission, also we're building an identity; i'm suggesting there should be players insurance, award per match not just individuals players" he advice.
On the Men table standing at 9pm yesterday, 2018 winner: Niger United amass 26pts while Plateau Vipers and COAS are in the relegation zone; Safety Babes finished with 25pts, almost relegated Confluence Queens, Bayelsa occupying ninth, tenth respectively.
Finally, on Wednesday third November tomorrow, there will be more astonishing and remarkable time out; because the cotton will be drawn to a close, lets make it a date: MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja from 7am till 6pm.
By Sunny Canto
The Handball Federation of Nigeria, popularly know as HFN newly re-elected boss, Sam Ocheho disclosed to Press men that 2021 ongoing Prudent Energy Handball Premier League is significant to players development.
Speaking, "Its better than what we had last season, because in my personal evaluation, we have done so much" he told.
Ocheho adding, "The teams are improving daily at the middle of the league, also, tables standing are changing, tougher games everyday which have grow handball game" he said.
"Interesting the league have developed our National athletes in recent years and of course, i'm highly delighted with the milestone so far, because there's more tournaments for them compare to before"
"HFN players will resume National Camps soon ahead of Nations Cup by January and we're been able to reduce age grade for our senior teams; also will consolidate on what we have done earlier"
"Prudent Energy Handball Premier League five years partnership will elapse by 2022, but i strongly believe so much has been achieved with the visibility in term of organizing"
"I'm optimistic by the time the sponsors access it, there will be a rollover"
Meanwhile, the games played today, Imo Grasshopper proved dominance beating Seasiders 32-23 as Plateau Vipers loss 20-24 to Kano Pillars while Seasiders dazzle 34-32 against adamant Confluence Stars.
Shockingly, newly promoted Police Machine got a pam of their flesh in a 25-24 from Tojemarine Academy who outclass them twice in their Division One games, but Edo Dynamos held Plateau Peacocks 24-24 draw as Rima Strikers was overpowered by Safety Babes 23-19 in a highly intense game.
In summary, its been exciting and thrilling twelve days of action at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja for Handball spectators; but remaining fourty-eight hours to roundup the games.
By Sunny Canto
Undisputed Adorable Angels of Kwara yesterday outclass their Bayelsa opponent in a sensational finish, at the Day 10, Prudent Energy Handball Premier League, inside MKO, Abiola, Stadium; Abuja.
Team Adorable, who had a flawless record from National Handball Division One held in Kaduna 2019, seem to remain a force to reckon with aftermath 2020 exceptional league outing; thereby giving their opponent a run for their money.
In an opener to Seasider Babes, combine force with dexterity, amass 41-28 goals, booked a slight victory of 30-29 from Defenders Babes, pommel Confluence Queens 37-30, outclass Plateau 34-25 but later fall 27-33 to Safety Babes, eventually returned to beat Kada Queens 31-24 also, overpowered Bayelsa Queens 47-31 in a remarkable game.
However, newly promoted Police Machine tasted their first win of 37-30 goals against Kada Stars, after a COAS work-over, while Coach Obi Fedelis and his Skipper Anas Mohammed rally round to upset Seasiders 26-22 in a cracker.
Defending champion, Safety Shooters determination gave them a 26-22 win over league debutant Confluence Stars. Similarly, their counterpart Defenders humiliated Plateau Vipers 26-18 in a keenly contested match.
Unexpectedly, Tojemarine Academy of Lagos resilient and outstanding performance finally gave them 15-11 lead at first quarter, atlast edged over 2018 Champions (Niger United) 24-23 as the spectators were left in amazement.
Coach Aguta Bright exclusively to us, "We're now qualified to remain in the League, but climbing the table log is our almost priority; soon Nigerians will be known globally through Handball if grassroot channels are available" he summarized.
Nevertheless, Handball Federation of Nigeria under the auspices of Sam Ocheho has achieved so much within a short period, but remain resolute and optimistic they can do more.
In a nutshell, for the development of the game, all hands must be on deck, work collectively as a board and family in order to succeed.
by Sunny Canto
A memorable day for Handball pundits, sports buffs on match Day Nine, Prudent Energy Handball League at Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
Lagos Seasiders finished well against Safety Shooters of Abuja, emerged victorious in a 30-26 cracker while newly promoted Tojemarine Academy of Lagos took Plateau Vipers unaware by beating them 25-23.
In the Women category, Coach Aaron of Edo Dynamos team was unable to stand Safety Babes prowess, losing 18-28 as Kada Queens booked their third win of 22-31 over Confluence Queens while De Defenders 24-22 on Seasiders Babes.
However, the Northern rivals, Niger United challenged Kano Pillars in an intensive game, though both teams used their Arsenals, but a goal difference make Coach Yekini Adebayo side won 25-24 against Sai Masu Gida boys in the last two seconds.
Speaking to reporters, Coach Yekini Adebayo (Niger United), "Its a very tough match but i'm glad we took our chances; of course officiating is very fair" he confirm.
While HFN board member, Jubril Saiudu said, "Sam have passion for the game just like me, because handball is next to Football in those days, we're going somewhere if only we work together as a family"
The North-Central Chairman add, "I was nominated and i strive to do more for the game, although i've provided balls to several States, lets restore our sport" he advice.
Nonetheless, Confluence Queens and Confluence Stars are been sponsor by the HFN former presidential candidate according to source.
Regardless of the elections results, there must be a progress in Handball as a result of that Sam Ocheho pro activeness and zeal in developing HFN has began her league, preparing for National Division One amongst other events to rap up 2021 Calender.
Coach David Yohanna, (Lagos Seasiders) admitted, "We knew losing will place us in a terrible situation on the log, so we played as a team, and whatever i've learnt i imbibe on the team but the trophy is our target"
On the other hand, (Tojemarine) Coach, "I played handball, watch clips but we're looking forward to remain in the league; of course, handball is moving the right direction" Bright Agubata said.
By Sunny Canto
Interestingly, the games are getting exciting day-in-day out inside the Moshood Abiola package A and B Stadium with unbelievable turnout.
Today game, match day six, 2020 Women champions: Adorable Angels thirteen game winning streak incepted, falling to arch-rival Safety Babes in a 27-33 encounter while Kada Queens recorded their first win 29-23 against Bayelsa Queens as Imo Grasshoppers proved dominance by edging Confluence Queens 28-20 but Plateau Peacocks, 2018 winner yet to win a game.
While in the Men category, last year second runner up Kano Pillars narrowly beat Safety 23-21 in a highly competitive game as De Defenders won newly promoted Confluence Stars 28-26 while experienced Seasiders outshine their League debutant Tojemarine of Lagos 34-27 as Sokoto Rima defeated Police Machine 29-26; Kada Stars slightly defeated Plateau Vipers in a 29-28 encounter.
However, Barrister Emmanuel Akhigbe (HFN Technical Committee Chairman) disclosed to reporters, "We resolved to be awarding Referee's and MVPs on daily basis, because there are judges who access every game thereafter we dole the award and cash prize"
Akhigbe add, "Our newly swore-in board are discussing with Edo State Government as regard National Division One slated for November to excellently host another mouthwatering tournament"
"The target is to make Handball most popular Sports in Nigeria; that's from Primary to Secondary then Higher Institutions" he told.
Ex-international and Chairman Technical Director, expressed satisfaction for player's improvement, standard of quality facilities and officiating method.
Apart from the amazing HFN U12, 15, 18, 21 and the Prudent Energy Handball League where twenty-two participating teams are fiercely displaying their talents and innate abilities towards victory.
Finally, lets everyone join hands together in this beloved and blessed Nation to consolidate his digital and rebranding legacy of Sam Ocheho, the re-elected President of the Federation of Nigeria.
By Sunny Canto
Astonishing opener as newly promoted side, Tojemarine Academy of Lagos claimed her first ever Prudent Energy Handball League win of (24-23) over their Sokoto Rima opponent in the male encounter yesterday in FCT, Abuja.
While their Lagos counterpart, Seasiders in a similar margin beat experienced De Defenders (22-21) to book historical a win as League second runner-up, Kano Pillars dig deep to defeat debutant Confluence Stars (29-26) in second half; of course Niger United demolished Police Machine in their debut of (30-16) match.
However, in the women category, last season unstoppable Adorable Angels overpowered Seasiders Babes (41-28) as 2019 champions experience gave them a win over Kada Queens in (24-17) encounter.
Elsewhere, Edo Dynamos with unprecedented record in 2019 season, eventually get a win of (27-19) against newly welcomed Confluence Queens while Bayelsa Queens couldn't surpass one time continental rival of Imo Grasshoppers who pommel them (36-26) as Plateau Peacocks fall (20-27) to De Defenders Babes.
Nevertheless, we must applaud @Sam Ocheho for the immense contribution that has add flavor into the game of Handball in a digital way; indeed, the cap fit him better!
Conclusively, he can't stand alone, because a tree they say can't make a forest neither can one finger poll hair out of someone except he or she is fully supported; lets work with the trailblazer!