Ghana’s male handball team, the Black Hands put up a splendid performance last Saturday to qualify for the All Africa Games slated for Abuja, Nigeria in October when they beat their Ivorian counterparts by 29-21 in a West Africa Zone III elimination series.
It took the bravery of Richard Ankrah in goal who put a superlative performance, Moses Quartey, Alex Asare, Salifu Mahama and Ebenezer Mensah to make victory certian and cancelling the 3-0 deficit as a result of their first match loss.
Playing before a fairly large crowd which include Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Mr. Joe Aggrey, Mr. Eddie Duplan, chairman of Ghana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) and Mr. B.T. Baba, chairman of the Handball Association of Ghana (HAG), it was the Ghanaians who annouced their intentions to carry the day with an aggressive approach to the game.
It therefore came as no surprise when the Ghanaians took a 4-2 lead very early in the game but the Ivorians, being urged on by their female counterpart fought back and drew even.
The Black Hands from this stage found it very difficult to unlock the defence built around strong Kouassi Konami, Dievo K. Eric and Dire Yacouba with good anticipation from goalkeeper Kandinin N. Ajrelle.
The Ghanaian by the 18th minute have lost the lead to the Ivorians whose confidence kept growing, sending the complex into a temporary silence but the Black Hands equalled the score and went ahead to take the lead once again.
They also took advantage of the reduction of the Ivorians to three to bang in two quick goals while Alen Asare (Sakora) kept using his height to his advantage, throwing and score from long distance to end the first half with a 14-9 lead.
The court was thrown into wild jubilation when the whistle went for the end of the game. Children and adults were seen singing and drumming all over as the Ivrians file out dejectedly with some cursing and hauling insults at the officials from Benin for certain decisions which did not favour them.
The story was however different in the women’s game as the Ivorian women forced another pill down the throat of the Ghanaian women with an embarrassing 38-14 scoreline.