16 teams in handball Africa Olympic qualifiers

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NAIROBI, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- A total of 16 teams have confirmed participation in the men's handball Africa Cup of Nations tournament that starts from January 16 to 26 in Hammamet and Rades cities in Tunisia.

The 10-day competition will serve as the continental Olympics qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Only one slot is reserved for the entire continent, according to Mansourou Aremou, president of the African Handball Confederation (CAHB).

"This will be the best crop of players from Africa facing off with the benefit to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo," said Aremou on Monday.

So far host Japan, Denmark, two continental champions - Argentina for Pan American Games and Asian champion Bahrain - have already sealed their spots in the 24 teams for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kenya coach Peter Mwathi said Kenya must produce its best game if they are to overcome the challenge posed by giants Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea in pool A.

Kenya eyes to make it to the finals and win direct ticket to Tokyo or make it through the World Olympic qualifiers which will be held in Europe in April.

"Only the winner will earn a direct ticket. The second and third-placed teams will go to Germany, France and Norway for the global Olympic qualification tournament," CAHB said in a statement.

Coach Mwathi has drafted in two wing players Titus Kipruto and Allan Simiyu in his team that is camping in Nairobi for training. The pair was not part of the team that made it to the All Africa Games qualifiers in Uganda in August before the African Handball Confederation (CAHB) canceled the Zone Five qualifiers for men.

"These two players have shown hunger on top class game and they deserve a place in the national team. They are young, agile and with potential," said Mwathi.

Other teams are Angola, Nigeria, Libya and Gabon in Pool B, hosts Tunisia teaming up with Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire and Cape Verde in Pool C, and Pool D has Morocco, Algeria, Congo and Zambia. Enditem

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