Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Journalist
SWITZERLAND coach Rolf Haussener said there is still a long way to go for the men’s national under-21 handball team to achieve their goals.
Haussener was in the country for the team’s recurrent camp, which ended yesterday, at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex.
He was working with local coaches Innocent Kanosvova and Farai Mukundu.
Haussener noted that there hasn’t been much progress, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although they have tried to engage players through online platforms, for individual training sessions. . “Of course, this Covid-19 was only a bad thing because we couldn’t get together, in these training camps.
“But, we actually organized an app, which is called sideline and on that app I could communicate with the team, I could put videos on it and then they would see what they had to do individually and they had to also confirm each workout.
“Of course you can’t compare that to the training we should have had.
“So this is the second camp, after all these Covid-19 issues and definitely I’ve seen a lot of these boys, they weren’t training, of course.
“They didn’t get stronger or faster and they didn’t get better.
“But that’s just a fact that we have to accept because I think some of them had problems as well in terms of financial issues, so obviously surviving was more important than training.
“At this camp, especially the goaltenders, we could see that they were really efficient. So that’s just a fact and now we’re just trying to take steps forward,” Haussener said.
The coach has been hired by the Zimbabwe Handball Federation to help build competitive national teams at various stages.
The national federation started with the men’s team, as part of its Vision 2024 project, and they now have a similar program for the women’s team aiming for 2026.
On Saturday, Haussener led the selection process for the women’s team, where she is targeting the under-18s.
“But, what is very important for us is that we are not only working with the boys, we had a selection this Saturday for the ladies under 18.
“For us, as a federation, and for me as a coach, it is very important that we achieve equality between men and women in our sport.
“So for me it’s a pretty big goal now to try to build a strong women’s team.
“But, here too, because of the coronavirus, it is also very difficult to find the best players, so it will be the big challenge for the assistant coach and the manager of the women’s team, to find the best players in the whole world. Zimbabwe,” Haussener said.
ZHF General Secretary Edson Chirowodza said the selection is an ongoing process and will continue for some time.
On Saturday, they managed to pick seven players and they’re looking at 15-20 players for the draft.