Handball in Africa: “We must permanently adapt”

17 Jul. 2020

Handball in Africa: “We must permanently adapt”

The Confédération Africaine de Handball (CAHB), or African Handball Confederation, was the trailblazer in world handball, becoming the first handball continental confederation on 15 January 1973. 


From Tunisia in its very north, to the western-most island nation of Cape Verde, through to the eastern most nation, the island of Mauritius, and southern-most point, South Africa, Africa has played an integral part in handball history.

A mixture of experienced nations and those just starting out, heading up the CAHB from its office in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, is its President, the Beninese, Mansourou Aremou, and he speaks to ihf.info to update on his continent during this International Handball Week.

ihf.info: In what ways is handball thriving in your confederation?

Mansourou Aremou: The African Handball Confederation is divided into 53 member countries, subdivided into seven development zones, which are also in charge of promoting our discipline with well-defined objectives: to increase the number of licence holders in each country and make handball the most popular sporting discipline of the continent.  

The CAHB also encourages the member federations in their training policy by the organisation of training courses for the benefit of the technical executives such as coaches, referees and technical delegates.

There are also the competitions organised by CAHB each year, with an average of five taking place each year – the Africa Clubs Championship, the Africa Clubs Championship for the Winners’ Cup, the  Super Cup and our Senior, Junior and Youth African Championships which alternate between men and women every two years. 

We also held our first-ever continental beach handball championship last year, at the debut edition of the African Beach Games in Cape Verde, plus we also have the African Games every four years

All of these competitions constitute the platform to assess the level of the countries. 

ihf.info: How does handball compete with other popular sports within your continent? 

Mansourou Aremou: The main objective today is to increase the number of countries which take part in our competitions. It is true that our desire is to continue growing and to make our discipline the most attractive one in the continent. 

We are working on it, but much remains to be done. We have got a good rank and it is together that we will build African handball and hoist it to the rank of the best continent.  

ihf.info: Why did you want to become CAHB President? 

Mansourou Aremou: I would rather say that I joined a team with the will to put all the actors together in a light of modernity, development and promotion of African handball. 

You clearly see that in a sport environment which constantly progresses, in front of needs which change, we must permanently adapt ourselves in order to do more, to do better, optimising our means in order to ensure a better future for our discipline. 

That concern for the efficiency led us to establish, after a diagnosis without complacence of our handball, various projects which give the results that we assess at each step.

In 2019, Egypt was the first African nation, men's or women's, to win a youth world championship.

ihf.info: What initiative are you most proud of that your confederation is doing/has done?

Mansourou Aremou: Since my arrival at the head of CAHB, much has been done. But my satisfaction is the acquisition of our own head office.

My wish is that our headquarters continues the growing development of a discipline in progress and which already radiates across the whole world.

ihf.info: How is the relationship between the IHF and CAHB?

Mansourou Aremou: We have a very good relationship with the IHF who provide us with the necessary support by assisting us not only in the training of our executives, but also by putting at the disposal of our less fortunate federations, development material. All that assistance contributes to the promotion and development of our discipline on the continent. 


ihf.info: Why is it important to have an International Handball Week? 

Mansourou Aremou: Organising an international handball week gives a great number of advantages, mainly the promotion of our beloved discipline.

Handball progresses thanks to the involvement and the participation of the players, the national federations, the hosting countries of our competitions, the fans and our partners and sponsors who contribute to bring life to our activities on the continent.

The celebration of such an event is, for us, the opportunity to highlight the union and solidarity of those different actors who defend all a common ideal: the development of the African handball.

ihf.info: What is your confederation doing for International Handball Week?

Mansourou Aremou: For the week dedicated to handball, we decided to speak about our history, about some emblematic persons who lit it up and some women’s teams from yesterday to today. 

It will be an opportunity for those personalities to give, through interviews, their feelings on African handball and pieces of advice to the present and future generations.

Présentation des intervenants

Flashback sur certaines anciennes figures mythiques de notre chère discipline Le Handball africain a connu des moments glorieux grâce à des figures emblématiques (ancien arbitre, ancien entraineur, ancien joueur…). A l'occasion de la semaine internationale de Handball, nous reviendrons sur certaines d’entre elles qui ont partagé leurs expériences. #Handballweek #handball

Posted by Confédération Africaine de Handball on Thursday, July 16, 2020

ihf.info: What is your message at this time to the global handball community?

Mansourou Aremou: Today, all our eyes are focused on the COVID 19 pandemic – a serious trial for our sport community and for the whole world. Now is more than ever the moment to have a team spirit to defeat the epidemic.

Let’s stay cautious, let’s protect our beloved ones, let’s practice frequent physical activity in view of the next resumption of the activities and let’s respect the protective and health measures prescribed by the health authorities. 

For more information about the CAHB visit their website and their Facebook page.