African Championships – Men and Women

The competition in Algeria is about to start

The competition in Algeria is about to start

While handball Europe is focused on EURO 2014 which just got underway, the African continent will start its championship tournaments in Algeria on January 16. This event, which is the 21st of its kind, combines the men’s and women’s competition and serves as Africa’s qualifying event for the World Championships in 2015 (hosted by Qatar for men and Denmark for women).

The African continental handball federation (CAHB) has 50 members, but only about a dozen of these countries tend to take part in the continental championships; the remaining ones participate in regional African competitions and in the African component of the IHF Challenge Trophy. This time there are 12 participants on the men’s side and eight among the women. The groups in the preliminary round are:

Men A: Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Cameroon, Gabon and Libya
Men B: Algeria, Morocco, Angola, Congo, Dem. Rep. of Congo and Nigeria
Women A: Algeria, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Cameroon and Senegal
Women B: Angola, Tunisia, Congo and Guinea

Among the women, we have the recent participants in the World Championships in the form of Angola (16th place), Tunisia (17th), and Dem .Rep of Congo (20th). It seems that the only teams which could prevent those three from qualifying yet again in 2015 are the host country Algeria and Cameroon.

On the men’s side, the question is likely to be the perennial one: can anyone else prevent the medal round from turning into a ‘North African Championship’. For the continent’s sake, it would probably be a good thing if this trend could be broken. The best chances for that would seem to rest with Angola and Congo, who might have the strength to knock off Morocco in group B.