Nigeria’s physically challenged soccer team, Special Eagles will take lessons and inspiration from fellow-Africans, Angola, who surprisingly emerged champions of this year’s Amputee Football World Cup.
While Nigeria’s squad won only one out of three matches in their debut at the global competition, following two straight failures to turn up in previous editions, Angola showed them a good example to follow next time out by going all the way to the trophy in Mexico.
Though Nigeria are relishing their historic first victory in their maiden outing at the competition, footballlive.ng can report that they now have a bigger margin to aim for, after Angola emerged world champions by beating Turkey 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out in Sunday’s final.
The match ended 0-0 after normal time, and the deadlock could not be broken in extra-time, while the deciding shoot-out proved just as tense with both teams scoring from their first four penalties.
The Angolans, who finished as runners-up at the last edition, sealed their championship victory thanks to a winning spot-kick from Henio Guilerme.
At 4-4, Angola’s goalkeeper, Jesus, made a crucial save to deny Turkey, to shine ahead of fellow-Africans, Nigeria and Kenya, who also played at this year’s edition.
Kenya made it through to the knock-out phase for the first time, eventually losing to Russia in the last sixteen, but Nigeria’s Special Eagles failed to make the second round.
Liberia and Ghana, who also qualified to play in Mexico, withdrew before the start of the tournament after Liberia reportedly failed to secure their visas on time, and Ghana faced financial difficulties.