Home » Sports » HPL Enters Second Week

THE inaugural Handball Premier League entered its second week at Houghton Park Primary School in Harare last Saturday where more than 10 men’s and women’s teams played their latest rounds of matches before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 500. Last Saturday saw nine men’s teams and four women’s sides taking to the courts as the 2014 HPL season, which began at the end of March, gained momentum under the supervision of an interim committee which was put in place by the Zimbabwe Handball Federation to run the league at the beginning of the year.

Black Rhinos, Tough Tacklers, Bright Burning Stars, Big Elephants of Chitungwiza (BEC), Top Stars Alliance, Marondera Tornados, Manyame Airbase, Houghton Park Sharks and Glendale Hardshots are playing in the men’s section of the league while Big Elephants, Black Rhinos, Goromonzi Eagles and Houghton Park Sharks are featuring in the women’s competition in the Northern Region.

And all these 13 teams that converged on Houghton Park Primary School on Saturday had something to smile about after they received some of the 100 balls which were recently donated to the ZHF by the International Handball Federation. Amon Madzvamuse, the ZHF president, and his secretary-general Alphios Magiya handed each club two balls which they will use during the season, which is expected to end in October.

Elphias Mahachi, the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Army’s Black Rhinos Handball Club, received the balls on behalf of his club and said they greatly appreciated the “small donation” that they got from the ZHF which he said would go a long way in creating interest in the sport among members of the uniformed forces. “For sport to be played or to grow, one needs equipment, which includes things like balls and uniforms, and the balls that we received from the ZHF today will also help to make our club grow as we really would like to make an impact in this league. We (Black Rhinos Handball Club) have always been behind the ZHF in their endeavour to make the sport of handball grow in Zimbabwe and we are more than ready to play our part by participating in the Handball Premier League where we are fielding a men’s and a women’s team,” Mahachi said.

ZHF president, Madzvamuse, said handing over some of the balls that they recently received from the IHF was part of their commitment to cater for some of the needs of the teams that are playing in the HPL, both in the Northern and Southern regions.

“These teams that are taking part in the HPL are registered with us and for us to operate fully we need to run a national league with the help of these clubs thus our decision to hand them some of the balls that we received from the IHF for our development programmes.

“We are really committed to seeing handball grow and becoming one of the most popular sporting disciplines in Zimbabwe and my executive and I are determined to take this sport to another level in this country.

“But the most interesting thing is that the league matches are now being played and I can see that there’s a lot of enthusiasm among the players, the officials and the spectators alike. I’ve also noticed that a number of young players whom we took to the Partille Cup in Sweden last year are now playing handball at club level (three of them featured for Houghton Park Sharks men’s side at the weekend) and I think this is the beginning of better things to come in our sport although there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Madzvamuse said.

The ZHF boss said teams that are taking part in the HPL’s Southern Region will also receive their share of the balls that came from the IHF while the rest will be handed to the junior sides that are expected to take part in this year’s Partille Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July.

More than five junior teams will represent Zimbabwe in different age-groups at the 2014 Partille Cup and Harare’s Mufakose 4 High School are expected to be part of Team Zimbabwe in Gothenburg and they’ve indicated that they will field a girls Under-16 side.

Owen Nhire, the headmaster of Mufakose 4 High School, said they have already stepped up their preparations for the Partille Cup where they will send a team of 10 players and four officials.

“At this year’s Partille Cup, we are expecting to field a team in the girls Under-16 age-group.

“We are looking at sending a team of 10 players who will be accompanied by four officials. As far as our preparations are concerned, the girls have been in camp with the help of the national association and we are happy that our preparations are going on well. We’ve managed to register ourselves as a club with the ZHF and we are looking for funds to take us to Sweden.

“We are looking at raising about US$34 000 for this trip and so far we have managed to raise about US$2 000. The parents are involved in our fund-raising activities, particularly the parents of the players who are going to Sweden, but we are appealing to the corporate world to come in and help us to raise the funds for this trip,” Nhire said. The Partille Cup is the world’s largest annual tournament in handball. The tournament is played every year during one week in July by young people in the ages between 10 and 21 years old. This year’s tournament is scheduled to run from June 30 to July 5.

Source : The Herald