Under-18 men’s handball team coach Alan Mandeya says they are getting down to business now in preparation for the International Handball Trophy Zone Six tournament due to take place next year.
Zimbabwe were confirmed as hosts for the competition expected to take place from April 25 to 30.
The Under-18 and Under-20 handball coaches led trials for team selection over the weekend in Bulawayo and Harare.
Mandeya led the selection for both Under-18 and Under-20 teams at Girls High School in Harare while Under-20 coach Cephas Mushati was in charge of the proceedings at Northlea High School in Bulawayo.
Although there was a positive response in Harare with interested players also coming from Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East, the numbers were low in Bulawayo.
Despite the low turnout in Bulawayo, Mandeya believes they can start building the teams from the selected players that have shown potential.
“We need more players but looking at it, we have to work hard with the players that we have.
“If we are to be fair, it’s actually difficult to have quite a number of players that are good because it’s almost two years of inactivity . . . Also realising handball does not have a club system for juniors, so I am impressed with the level I saw. We can build a team from that,” said Mandeya.
The idea is for the selected squads to have periodic camps building up to the regional tournament scheduled for April 25 to 30.
So far they were given a training programme to guide them ahead of the periodic camps.
Mandeya said they are looking at having their first periodic camp in Bulawayo so that players who are interested and failed to attend the weekend’s trials have a second chance.
“The turnout in Bulawayo was not that pleasing, we had five Under-18s and for the Under-20s there were 15 players. They were citing transport challenges.
“We proposed that our first physical camp be in Bulawayo, then we give a chance to those who did not manage to come for the trials.
“The January camp is largely dependent on the (O and A Level) exams timetable. We cannot have it in January if they are still writing exams but soon after.
“So we can have the first one early February and then another one end of February because we need to have those two periodic camps.
“We are looking at proficiency, attacking and defence. We will be actually training them how to attack and understand their positions, we will do the same with the defence. We want to introduce a system on how they should play,” said Mandeya.
For the Under-18, Mandeya is working with team manager Tafadzwa Mukandabvute.
Mushati will be assisted by Tafadzwa Mudure and team manager Mthulisi Mvubu.
Zimbabwe were scheduled to host the IHF Trophy Zone Six tournament last year but the event could not go ahead because of Covid-19.
The latest confirmation for next year’s event has been welcomed by the national federation and are hoping the competition will go ahead this time around.