A 15-man contingent of the Nigeria Amputee Football team, the Special Eagles, departed the country on Tuesday for the 2019 Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF) tournament taking place in Benguela, Angola from 4 to 11 October.
The contingent which left aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, included five officials led by the President of the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF) Isah Sulaiman and ten players captained by Olalekan Oyeleke Sharafadeen.
The Special Eagles are returning to the tournament for the first time since the 2013 edition in Kenya where they finished in fourth place and kick off their campaign against defending champions Liberia on Friday, 4 October at the Nacional Benguela Stadium.
Head coach Victor Nwenwe has already vowed to return home with the trophy and for the president of the NAFF Sulaiman, Nigeria’s return to the competition which comes after a maiden Amputee Football World Cup appearance last year, presents yet another opportunity for the Special Eagles to improve on their current status as the third-ranked team in Africa.
“For now, the Nigerian Amputee Football is number three in the African region, and we want to consolidate on that rating to see if we can move a step further,” Sulaimon told busybuddiesng.com.
“Angola is number one in the world and number one in Africa, Kenya is number two in Africa and number twelve in the world, Nigeria is number three in the world and the thirteenth world ranking nation, so, we are hoping that we consolidate on that achievement.”
The Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF) is a biennial tournament organised by the Amputee Football Federation for Africa (AFFA) to determine Africa’s best team and also serves as part of qualifiers for the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) organised Amputee World Cup.
Other teams scheduled to compete at the tournament in addition to hosts Angola include Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Cameroon.
Liberia are defending champions and have won the last three editions of the tournament while Ghana won the inaugural edition hosted in 2007 in Sierra Leone.
Nigeria’s 15-man Contingent to the 2019 CANAF In Angola
Goalkeepers: Ogidan Olayemi; Blessing Ogu;
Outfielders: Kennedy Ezeji; Austin Ugwu; Olalekan Oyeleke Sharafadeen (Captain); Sunday Setunji; Mohammed Grema; Emmanuel Ibeawuchi; Kelvin Kingsley; Ibrahim Ndako.
Coaching Crew: Victor Nwenwe (Head Coach); Gbenga Dosumu (Asst Coach); Danjuma Joda (Trainer).
Officials: Sulaiman Isa (President); Pius Asaba (Technical Director)
2019 CANAF FIXTURE LIST
Matchday 1, 4 October (Nacional Benguela Stadium)
Sierra Leone vs Tanzania (9:00 am)
Liberia vs Nigeria (11:00 am)
Angola vs Cameroon (4:00 pm)
Matchday 2, 5 October (Ombaka Stadium)
Liberia vs Tanzania (9:00 am)
Nigeria vs Cameroon (11:00 am)
Angola vs Sierra Leone (4:00 pm)
Matchday 3, 6 October (Nacional. Benguela Stadium)
Sierra Leone vs Cameroon (9:00 am)
Tanzania vs Nigeria (11:00 am)
Angola vs Liberia (4:00 pm)
Matchday 4, 7 October (Nacional Benguela Stadium)
Nigeria vs Sierra Leone (9:00 am)
Cameroon vs Liberia (11:00 am)
Tanzania vs Angola (4:00 pm)
Matchday 5, 8 October (Nacional Benguela Stadium)
Sierra Leone vs Liberia (9:00 am)
Cameroon vs Tanzania (11:00 am)
Nigeria vs Angola (4:00 pm)
Classification matches for the 5th and 6th positions will be held on 10 October while the 3rd place encounter and the championship match will be played on 11 October.