19.07.2002 Sports News

Handball heroine returns home

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Ghana's handball heroine, Hagyara Mahama, the SWAG handball player of the year has returned from France after a three week stay to acquaint herself with the game internationally, as part of her package for winning the best player award in the country. Hagyara in an interview she said Ghana has to develop handball to meet international standards She said.,the handball game in France is well organised right from the colts to the professional level. Patronage is massive all over the country and Hagyara, is of the view that if the government will be sensitive to the game the country will benefit immensely from the sport.

The handball heroine told Agenda that the best sports personality award in France was contended between soccer star Zidane and handball player Jackson Richardson and the handball player was voted as the best sports personality for the year 2001.

Hagyara was fortunate to train with Jackson Richardson as part of her training schedule. Hagara is the captain of the Police Service female handball team and is likely to move to France to join one of the professional teams that she trained with She hinted that she has been contacted by Berlsee Club to arrange for her to join their professional side in France.

In a related interview ,the General Secretary of the Ghana handball association, Mr. Saka Acquaye made a passionate appeal to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to support the Ghana Handball Association in their effort to make the game popular.Mr.Acquaye said his association has not received any financial assistance from the Ministry this year and it is affecting the management of the game. Mr Acquaye revealed that the Association has commenced the building of two courts at Kpando in the Volta Region under the supervision of the district assembly for the next competition to be held in the district.

According to Mr. Acquaye ,handball is being played only in private schools but the Ministry of Education will introduce the game in all Public schools nation wide as one of the compulsory sports in all schools. Hagyara compared her experience in France to Ghana and concluded that “if there are facilities in the country to enhance the performance of the players ,there should be no doubt that Ghanaians can do better than the players abroad.”Hagyara stated that players in Ghana lack basic training kits such as balls, dressing kit,standard courts that are made with wood ,gymnasium and all other training aids will go a long way to uplift the game in the country.The Ghanaian best player made a confession that when she got to France she could not fit into the professional team till she was oriented and became used to the trainnng facilities in France.

In the last African Games competition that was held in Johanesburg,South Africa ,Ghana placed third which was a great achievement. Ghana beat the host nation South Africa in a crucial encounter to win the bronze medal for the country and according to Mr. Acquaye the team improved on their performance in the next competition to be held in Abuja. Currently the teams participating in the national league are Prisons Service,Police Service,Fire Service.,The Navy ,the army and airforce do play handball but are not part of the league Another team is HOSTAC based in Kaneshie which represents the few clubs that compete in handball on a professional level.

According to Mr.Acquaye ,the Handball Association of Ghana has received sponsorship from a number of organisations and agencies,He mentioned Unilever as a major sponsor of the game until last year. Hagyara's trip to France was sponsored by the French Corporation Ministry. The General Secretary called on the general public,private institutions and the government to contribute in all aspects to uplift the game in Ghana. Hagyara Mahama called on the government and sports fans to ensure that handball blooms to achieve honours for the country.

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