By Sedara Philip
Nigeria, on Thursday, earned their first victory at the IHF Emerging Nations Championship ongoing in Bulgaria with comfortable 35-17 victory over Azerbaijan.
Learning from the defeat against Bulgaria on Wednesday, the Coach Solomon Yola led team, took the bull by the horn as they went into business and ended the first half with an 18-7 win with rising star of Nigerian handball, Faruk Yusuf finishing the first half with six goals, three of which came via fast breaks, as Nigeria were simply impossible to stop with an amazing display of lightening speed.
The second half continued as the first with captain Obinna Anih motivating the team with fast breaks goals, 9 meters goals and defending well enough to earn a comfortable 35-17 at the end of the match.
Yusuf extended his superb run in the game, finishing with a 13-goal and taking his overall tally to 19 goals, the second largest goal in the group phase which is two goals shy of leading goal scorer Unai Ruiz of Andorra but Obinna Anih was voted the player of the match for his leadership performance.
It is Nigeria’s second biggest win in the competition in 12 games after their 40-13 win over Malta in 2019.
The national under 24 male handball team, who finished second in group D behind host Bulgaria, will play Great Britain in a fifth placement match on Saturday at 2pm to better their last position in competition of 7th place
Great Britain, just like Nigeria, have played two matches wherein they lost to Cuba 32-28 and then defeated Guatemala 28-17 in Group C.