Nigeria’s team to this year’s Amputee Football World Cup have sent out a passionate appeal to stakeholders, well-wishers, corporate bodies and government for adequate backing and support to enable them prepare well for the competition.
Making this plea on behalf of the team, fondly called Amputee Eagles, Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF) athletes representative, Ugochukwu Obieze said Nigeria must put in proper preparations because of the quality of teams in their group.
Obieze explained that amputee football is a sport for the disabled which involves seven footballers, six outfield players who have extreme amputation, while goalkeepers have upper extremity amputation and uses loft strands and crutches to play.
He further disclosed that a total of 24 affiliated countries of WAFF will participate in the tournament which Russia won in 2014 in Argentina.
Obieze further disclosed that The Amputee Eagles are in Group E along with Russia, Brazil and El-Salvador for the 2018 2018 World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) Cup, which will hold from October 24th to November 5th in Mexico.
Obieze, however, lamented that lack of sponsors, inability to secure visas, and irregular participation in intercontinental tournaments has denied the nation participation in the tournament since its inception.
He added that the team ought to be in closed camp by now to put finishing touches to their preparations for the competition.
The athletes’ representative described Nigeria’s participation in the tournament as a long awaited objective, as it would be a first appearance for the Amputee Eagles.
Obieze said: “Our training has been in progress since the new board cleared the outstanding affiliation fee and that restored our hope and participation in WAFF programs of which this World Cup is part of.
“The match fixtures have sent a warning signal that there is need for us to fortify our team with adequate preparations because Russia, the defending champions of the 2014 edition is in our group.
“Now that the event is fast approaching, we need to resume national camp as soon as possible to enable us concentrate and get focused in order to excel in the group.
“The opportunity and dream to fly Nigeria’s flag in the amputee World Cup has finally come, and we are doing everything possible to have a remarkable outing by bringing the trophy home.”