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Zone II president pledges support to Gambia Handball Federation

Jun 25, 2014, 11:01 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Saydou Diouf, president of the African Zone II Handball Federation, has pledged to give his full support to the Gambia Handball Federation.

Mr Diouf, who was speaking at a press conference held at the Independence Stadium yesterday after concluding a three-day visit to The Gambia, added that he was satisfied with his visit.

The Zone II president held discussions with the Executive Director of the National Sports Council, Gambia National Olympic Committee president, Gambian IOC member and the deputy permanent secretary Ministry of Youth and Sports during his visit.

Their discussions included the 2015 Zone II qualifiers which they want to organise in The Gambia; how to develop and promote handball; help develop the athletes in sports; the future of African games and IOC new policies.

Diouf said he decided to visit The Gambia, because he has seen here a lot of efforts in promoting and developing handball.

“It is my responsibility to push them in other to achieve their ambitions”, he added.

“Secondly, we want to organise a tournament, from 4th to 12th March 2015, for the qualifiers of the African games and Gambia like other countries wants to host this tournament”.

He is in the country to see if Gambia has the structures in place to host the event, Diouf added.

Gambia has a strong perspective in handball development, according to Diouf.

“I didn’t know that the Gambia Handball Federation has human resources - they are highly qualified to do the job and I found here a team who are working together in a friendly way to promote handball”.

Diouf said he felt honoured in meeting Ms Beatrice Allen, whom he described as Africa’s women’s pride for being an IOC member.

“If one wants to develop sports, you need to have plans. You do not only develop sports in the senior teams, but also the grassroots, and this people are doing their best in that respect and I congratulate them, and assure them that I will be here to help them to develop handball in The Gambia”.

They are working on signing an MoU between the Gambia and Senegal to develop some activities together, he announced.

His said his aim is for The Gambia to host the qualifiers, but the decision does not depend entirely on him as he has to consult with his executive, Diouf went on.

“My aim is for the competition to be hosted by The Gambia, but we have to decide together as a team in Mali in July. I’m the president but do not decide alone”.

However, Diouf also stated: “I do not think the Gambia will be able to host the event, because the time is short to transform the court”.

He said he has seen and will give advice when he returns, adding that if The Gambia wants to host the qualifiers the country needs the infrastructure in place.

The Gambia has a nice handball court that can host small competitions, but hosting the qualifiers will require a hall and not just a court.

If the national authorities can do their best to have a hall, then The Gambia can host the event, he continued but added that he does not think the Gambia will make it on time, because to have the hall in place will require time.

In 2015 they plan to organise a competition in the Gambia for local national players or young players from seven nations to mark the 50 independence celebration of the Gambia, he told sports reporters.

Mr Diouf who was in the country with Cherif Ndiaye an IHF lecturer for referees who took Gambian referees through a lecture, also said they want to have qualified referees and coaches in the Gambia.

He said after signing the MoU, the two countries will be having exchange visits.

“I’m very satisfied with my visit. I know that the Gambia Handball Federation does not have money, but they have their heart in the game, and I will do my best to help them”.

Mr Diouf also said he saw great players in the Gambia during his stay in the country, and believes Gambia handball is growing.

Sports cannot develop with only the public resources, he said, and called on the private sector to come in and support the game of handball.

With what he has seen so far, if the Gambia continues in this way, in four years the Gambia will be among the top four handball countries in Zone II, he pointed out. Their aim is to push the country to be in the top four, Diouf added.

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