Collin Matiza Sportswriter
THIS year promises to be a busy season for local youth handball players with several international tournaments lined up for them both home and away from home.
As well as taking part in the inaugural Kwekwe International Handball Festival due to take place from March 23-26 in the Midlands town, a number of youngsters Zimbabwean handballers are also expected to travel to Europe to compete in a number of international tournaments, including the Hanse Cup in Germany, the Partille Cup in Sweden and the Interamnia World Cup in Italy.
This year’s Hanse Cup, designed for the under-15, 17 and 19 age groups, will be held in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg, Germany during the Easter holidays on March 26-27; and it will be followed by the Partille Cup which will take place from July 4 to 9 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Another major international youth handball tournament, the Interamnia World Cup, will hold its 44th edition in the Italian city of Teramo from July 5-11 this year.
And Amon Madzvamuse, the president of the Zimbabwe Handball Federation, recently indicated that they plan to send junior teams to these three international tournaments in Germany, Sweden and Italy this year.
In fact, Madzvamuse said he has already accepted an invitation to play at this year’s Hanse Cup in Germany in March, where Zimbabwe will likely be represented by a number of clubs and schools.
“Harare Girls’ High School is complete in terms of registration for this year’s Hanse Cup and we have already extended invitations to other high schools such as Bradley’s Bindura, Masvingo’s Danhamombe and Chinhoyi High School as well as Prospect Primary School and AM Academy (both from Harare) who have all indicated they would like to send players to compete in the same tournament in Germany in March.
“We have yet to get confirmation from Northlea and Mzilikazi High Schools in Bulawayo and Masvingo High School. But I can safely say that we will definitely send one or more school teams to this year’s Hanse Cup and we will make our final confirmation soon,” said Madzvamuse.
The Mashonaland West Handball Association have already indicated that they will also send their Mashrhino selection team to this year’s Hanse Cup in Germany, where they will likely be represented by a men’s and women’s under-16 team.
Alfos Mhondiwa, vice president of the Mashonaland West Handball Association, recently said that they have already signed up to compete in this year’s Hanse Cup and are making all necessary arrangements to raise funds for the trip to Hamburg.
“We have already chosen our Mashrhino men’s and women’s under-16 teams for this year’s Hanse Cup and in terms of fundraising, it’s looking good for the men’s team as we still face challenges. for the women’s team as some parents are struggling to raise the necessary funds for this trip to Germany in March,” Mhondiwa said.
But he remained hopeful they could send a representative team to this year’s Hanse Cup for the second time in a row after making their first appearance at the same tournament in April last year.
The Hanse Cup was born and started in 2012 by one of the best German handball clubs, TSG Bergedorf.
The tournament organized by TSG Bergedorf has great advantages: excellent sports accommodation, a large group of enthusiastic supporters, the bustling city center of Hamburg and the friendly and atmospheric center of Bergedorf itself.
Bergedorf is a green suburb 20 minutes by train from Hamburg. The tournament takes place in and around the Sportforum in Bergedorf, a large sports center which offers tennis courts, a sauna, a gym and a beautiful swimming pool as well as world-class handball facilities.
Initially, the Hanse Cup was restricted to top youth handball clubs from France, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and hosts Germany, before tournament organizers broke with tradition last year by inviting the selected team of Mashrhino from Mashonaland West Province in Zimbabwe to participate in this annual event.
In fact, Mashrhino made history last year by becoming the first team outside of Europe and the first from Africa to compete in the Hanse Cup where they fielded teams in the under age group. 16 years old.
Their trip to Germany was facilitated by the GeBe Education and Sports Foundation, a German non-profit organization which has links with a number of national sports associations in Germany and has a branch in Cape Town, South Africa, where she is also involved in running. a number of sports activities at the grassroots level.
Bernd Wulffen, director and founder of the GeBe Foundation, said that after taking part in this year’s Hanse Cup, the players from the Zimbabwean teams will be attached for 10 days to several top German handball clubs scattered around Hamburg before returning home. them.
“In fact, we have organized a 10-day training camp for Zimbabwean teams and players who will excel or impress German coaches could get handball scholarships in Germany, which I think is really great for these aspiring young handball players from your country,” says Wulffen.