Peopes Daily Sports Assistant Editor, Albert Akota had a chat with vice chairman of Mega Veterans Handball Association, Saidu Jibril Orji who spoke on his readiness to revamp handball in Nigeria as well as achievements of the body in 2014.
Sir, may I meet you,
Yes, my names are Saidu Jibril Orji.
What is your background in handball fraternity in Nigeria?
My background in handball started in 1980, I started playing handball from the grassroots under 12 in Kano, Then proceeded into senior category before playing at senior level, which is the senior category, if you look at the background on how I started, I can beat my chest to say that I can be call one of the most successful handballer in Nigeria because some of us who played this game are not more playing it and some are out of the game, many are not more alive and we that are alive, we give God the glory.
How do you intense to revamp handball in Nigeria if you are given the opportunity.
Thank you, the opportunity I will say indirectly has already been given to me, given to us in the sense that the life given to us by the almighty God is an indication that we have the whole opportunity and privilege to be able to advance the course of handball in Nigeria.
If you see what we have gotten from the game of handball there is nothing we have not seen in handball industry because the privileges and the opportunity we have gotten and used judiciously will go a long way in the young ones life who have interest in the game.
Presently we are on how to see we raise the younger ones, if you wish to know, there is a scholarship programme we are running for the young ones, we pay school fees for the young ones, we encouraged the young ones by providing kits, provide handball to some states in order to encouraged handball, I think that is the way forward to advance the cost of handball in Nigeria.
Mega veterans has re-awaken handball in Nigeria what is your comment on this?
Thank you very much, I think is a wonderful and laudable aspect of game in Nigeria, mega veterans handball association has re- awaken handball by organising various tournaments.
We organised tournament because of the epileptic level of the game, nobody is hearing about the game, those who are used to the game are no more hearing it any longer and some of us who played the game realised the important of the game and came together to re-waken the lovely game.
We will not allow the game to go down the drain, we have registered the association for the interest of handball in Nigeria with a legal body and the only way we can stand on our feet was to reduce the load on government.
Things never go well in Nigeria especially when you are fighting for the interest of Nigerians, if you decide to depend solely on government to move handball forwards it may not seen the light of the day, I strongly believe government are not buoyant enough to advance sports alone in Nigeria, what is happening in Nigeria today is football, football has taken over the place of other games.
We decide to encourage handball by beating our chest, we agreed to bring back handball to the fullest. We felt that the sustainers of handball or re-awaken of handball must abide by us and we stood on that.
We are very happy and thank God almighty for making our tournament a huge success, many teams from states turn up for the competition, we have nothing less than 20 teams both men and female respectively which shows that people are hungry for handball game.
The youths are hungry to play the game, they were waiting and expecting the 2014 Mega Veterans Handball competition in Abuja, it became an eyes opener to so many coaches because it was unprecedented, they were pleased with what mega veterans are doing, if you listen to some of the interviews granted during the competition, they were pleased and proud to be associating with the re-awaken of handball in Nigeria.
You are the vice chairman of mega veterans, what is the relationship between the veterans and the Handball Federation of Nigeria?
In the past, it was a cat and rat relationship but today is coded relationship, yes is a coded relationship because we stand on our effort to advance the game.
We brought the re-awaken of handball initiative, we organized coaches seminar recently, if you wish to know, we invited an international coach from Germany to inline our coaches and referees the latest techniques of the game because we want our referees and coaches to meet international standard which lasted from about a week in Abuja, we invited him in that regards, we paid all his bill.
With that new development I think the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) and the National Sports Commission (NSC) deem their feats necessary to move the game forwards.
As of today, all the party including mega veterans are in one direction for the interest of handball in Nigeria. We cannot disassociate ourselves from the NSC or HFN any longer, and our dream now is to ensure how we can work together with various associations to see the game go beyond the way we think, personally, I believe the federation is on the drawing stage while we are in planning stage.