YAOUNDE, June 8 (Xinhua) — The African Women’s Handball Championship kicks off Tuesday in Cameroon amid Covid-19, with an opening game pitting Nigeria against Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“For Cameroon, this competition is very important to show our hospitality and also our cultural diversity. We want it (championship) to be historic and exciting,” Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, Cameroon’s Minister of Sports and Physical Education told reporters hours to the kick-off of the championship.

“Everything is set for the competition. The stadiums, hotels… everything is ready,” added the minister.

The games will take place indoors and in strict respect of Covid-19 preventive guidelines due to the ravaging pandemic, according to local authorities and the African Handball Confederation.

Eleven teams will take part in the championship after Algeria withdrew from participating. They are all determined to take away the trophy from defending champions Angola who won the 2018 edition of the competition hosted by the Republic of the Congo.

Initially scheduled for 2020 and then postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament will run from June 8 to 18 in Cameroon. In addition to the continental title, four tickets to the World Cup are at stake.