Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has approved for the state to host a national handball tournament at the Aper Aku Stadium from December 5 to 12, 2016.
Ortom, who gave the approval while receiving the national president of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN), Alhaji Dauda Yusuf, at the old banquet hall of Benue People’s House, yesterday, said sport plays the dual role of boosting the economy and identifying hidden talents.
He commended the organisers of the tournament, which would feature 10 male and eight female teams, the Reunion of Benue Handballers, for remembering their old good days and giving opportunity for the young ones to grow in the game.
Ortom said the state government would continue to support the various sporting activities including handball, football and tennis, among others, disclosed that the commissioner for sports, saying that Lawrence Onoja jnr. has been directed to organize sporting competitions across the state.
He announced approval for the release of N2 million and N5 million respectively for the Reunion of Benue Handballers and the HFN for the hosting of the eight-day handball tournament, adding that as the economic situation improves, he would approve the purchase of a bus for the federation.
Earlier, spokesman of the Reunion of Benue Handballers, Mr. Benjamin Obe, had told the governor that handball veterans in the state decided to reawaken consciousness in the sport after seeing that the game was dying.
He explained that since a national tournament was held in Benue in 1990, no effort has been made towards enhancing handball and appealed to him to assist in the hosting of the tournament billed for December 5 to 12 at the Aper Aku Stadium.
He requested the governor to approve the release of N2 million for the veterans to enable them make preparations for the tournament, while HFN President, Alhaji Dauda Yusuf, on his part, said the 1990 tournament was held on the tarred road because of lack of stadium.
Yusuf appealed to Governor Ortom not to allow handball to die in the state and asked for the release of N5 million to enable the federation organize the tournament.