It was mixed feeling for host Cantonment Youth Handball club as Legonite Handball club left it late to grab the men category ultimate trophy and cash prize in a tight final in the U-20 Slowe Handball Championship after Can’t Youth women beat Reniijoe earlier at the Prisons Sports Complex in Accra on Saturday, August 4, 2018.
The maiden edition of the Civilian Handball Championship which was in honour of the late Madam Karen Slowe, organized by the Handball Association of Ghana (HAG) in Collaboration with Cantonment Youth Handball Club saw a huge number of fans across the capital city.
Reniijoe Women reach the final after topping Group B with 6 points and going pass Hostac, Group A runners-up 12-10 in a tight match. They, however, failed against Cantonment Youth, who also topped Group A with just 3 points and dispatched Group B runners-up, El-Wak Wings 18-6. Cantonment Youth Women grew wild as the 15 each half-game progressed, with the fans growing wilder to beat Reniijoe 15-10.
Cantonment Youth Men, who started their final with the motivation of their female counterpart’s victory, needed composure to battle a Legonite side, who had won all matches to reach the final. Can’t Youth in their build-up to the final lost one group game against El-Wak Wings but managed to beat Hostac 14-13 in the second semifinal; a score line the eventual winners, Legonite also recorded against El-Wak Wings in the first semifinal match.
The men final which were anybody’s game showed an end to end stuff, as Legonite drew first blood from kick-off but trailed 7-9 to Can’t Youth at the First quarter. Indiscipline on the part of Cantonment Youth had 3 of their players suffering from 2 minutes. With 2 minutes left to play and the scores standing at 17 apiece, Darkey stepped up to take a 7 metre for Legonite. He missed but got the rebound and won the day for his team.
Head Coach of Legonite, Abdul Rahman Iddrisu in an interview with Herosportgh.com says discipline won it for them.
“Discipline, hard work and the hunger to win is what did it for us. These are young student’s players we have groomed and they didn’t rest until now. We are determined to win and not surprised at this feat. The dedication they have will take them to places.”
Meanwhile, Assistant Coach of Cantonment Youth Seth Arthur who partly blamed the referees for their defeat admits their opponents possessed more strength.
“Winning the Women Championship, I feel like being in Heaven because hosting such an event and winning boosted our moral into the Men final. What I can say is our opponents were more physical than my boys and secondly the referees didn’t do well. The last goal which we conceded, the player stepped on the line but the referee allowed it. Unlike football referees, handball referees are not banned for decisions, so they feel free to make any decision.”
The 3-day event which had many Dignitaries and Handball Enthusiasts saw 10 male clubs and 7 female clubs; 2 groups of each category and 35 matches.
President of the Veteran Handball Association and Former national Black hands captain, Patrick Norvor, Nana Nankatta of the GOC, Members of HAG as well as the Deputy Director General of the National Sports Authority Saka Acquaye, were all present.
In his closing remarks, Husband of the late Karen Slowe, who is the Guest of honour Peter Slowe express his appreciation to all stakeholders for making the championship a success and said with the kind of competition he saw, the future of Ghana Handball is great.
In the individual awards, Cynthia Okine of Reniijoe has adjudged the Best Female Goalkeeper while Cantonment Youth Kate Mensah won the Best Player Award. Legonite’s Joshua Agamah run walked away with the Best Goalkeeper Accolade after a fantastic final with the Best player Award going to Emmanuel Asare of Cantonment Youth.
Handball lovers would love to have more of these championships to keep the level of performances up in Ghana, for future assignments.