Lagos - Team Lagos has qualified for the finals of the women’s handball event of the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival (NSF) in Lagos after defeating Team Ondo, 33-20.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team had eliminated Edo, the defending champions, 20-16 at the quarter-final stage.
Anthony Idolor, Head Coach of Team Lagos, said he felt fulfilled at the victory, saying: ``it has been very long we made it to the finals’’.
Idolor attributed the impressive performance to the athletes’ understanding of the rules of the game and their strong determination to win laurels for the state.
``I think I am the happiest person with my team being the first to qualify for the Women's Handball finals of Eko 2012.
``My players have passed through hard training before this competition, to make the dream of getting to the final a reality.
``I pray to win the gold medals in both the men and women's categories,’’ he said.
Bisi Oyewusi, Captain of Team Lagos, said the pressure from the visiting states had been too much on Team Lagos, but that determination had so far seen them through.
According to Oyewusi, the last time Team Lagos reached the finals of a handball event at a national festival was in 1996.
``It was a great job because since 1996, we never reached the finals. I cannot wait to play in the final on Thursday, to win the gold medal at stake for my state.
``Although many teams were better than us, but with God’s support, we have kept our medal hopes alive,’’ she said.
Hassan Janet, Captain of Team Ondo attributed their loss to Team Lagos to laxity in their approach to the game in the first half.
``We lost because we did not play well in the first half and by the time we woke up, it was too late to catch up,’’ she added.
Hassan, however, promised to deliver a consoling bronze medal to Ondo.
Team Lagos will meet the winner of the match between Team Rivers and Team Plateau in the finals, while Ondo will tackle the losers for the third place.
Meanwhile, in the men’s semi-finals, Team Lagos will also meet Team Ondo, while Team Sokoto will tackle Team Borno.
The handball event which has been holding at the Handball Courts of the University of Lagos, will be rounded off on Dec. 6.