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ZIMBABWEAN handball teams received a timely boost ahead of two major international tournaments this year when the International Handball Federation donated 100 balls to the Zimbabwe Handball Federation last weekend.The ZHF will this year send a number of teams to participate in the Partille Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July and in the IHF Zone Six Under-20 Challenge Trophy in Lusaka, Zambia, at the end of August.

And this last weekend, the IHF sent in a donation of 100 balls, some of which will be used by the teams that are going to represent Zimbabwe at the Partille Cup in Gothenburg and at the Zone Six Under-20 Challenge Trophy in Lusaka.

Amon Madzvamuse, the ZHF president, confirmed this latest development yesterday, saying that the donation of the balls from the IHF, whose headquarters is in Basel, Switzerland, has demonstrated that they have some good relations with the world’s handball motherbody.

The ZHF have been a member of the IHF since 1994.

“We have received 100 balls from the IHF and these balls have come at time when we needed them most as we are preparing to send our teams to the Partille Cup in Sweden in July and to the IHF Zone Six Under-20 Challenge Trophy tournament in Zambia towards the end of August.

“This donation of the balls from the IHF has also come in as we have just seen the start of our inaugural Handball Premier League and some of the clubs that are playing in this league will also get some of these balls that came from the IHF.

“This (the donation of the balls) is to show the world that we are in good books with the IHF and I would also like to thank the Sports Commission and the (new) Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture who intervened for us not to pay any duty for these balls through the duty free certificate which they availed to us.

“This also means that more and more donations will come in for us from abroad and this will go a long way in making handball grow in Zimbabwe and it will soon become one of the most popular sporting disciplines in this country,” Madzvamuse said.

Alphios Magiya, the ZHF secretary-general, also played “a pivotal role” in convincing the IHF to donate the 100 balls to his federation.

But it is the decision by the ZHF to give some of the balls that have been donated by the IHF to the teams that will participate in the Partille Cup and in Zone Six Under-20 Challenge Trophy tournament that will raise the morale of the players ahead of these two important international assignments.

Madzvamuse said the ZHF are looking at sending seven teams to the 2014 Partille Cup in Sweden in July.

The Partille Cup, started by the Swedish handball club IK Saumlvehof, 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.

And at this year’s Partille Cup, which is set to run from June 30 to July 5, Zimbabwe will be represented by a boys and a girls Under-16 team who will be joined there by two teams from Harare’s Girls High School who have indicated that they will be fielding an Under-20 and Under-16 team at this tournament.

Howard High School from Chiweshe in Mashonaland Central have also indicated that they will be sending a boys Under-20 team to this year’s Partille Cup while Mashrhino, a select side from Mashonaland West, are likely to send two teams that will take part in the Under-12 and Under-13 age-groups in Sweden.

Mutoko Handball Club from Mashonaland East are also assembling an Under-20 team for the same tournament in Gothenburg.

After sending teams to the Partille Cup, the ZHF will then assemble a men’s and a women’s Under-20 squad that will represent the country at the IHF Zone Six Under-20 Challenge Trophy tournament that is set to run from August 30 to September 6 in Lusaka, Zambia.

All these teams for the Partille Cup and the IHF Zone Six Challenge Trophy tournament are going to benefit from the balls that were recently donated to the ZHF by the IHF.

“In fact, the IHF have promised to donate more balls to us and we are grateful for this because this will surely go a long way in developing handball in this country,” Madzvamuse said.

Source : The Herald