Having sorted out their travel arrangements for the 2019 Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF) tournament when their participation appeared uncertain at one point, head coach of Nigeria’s Amputee Football Team, Victor Nwenwe says the Special Eagles will travel to Angola with the sole aim of returning to Nigeria with the trophy.
The Nigeria Amputee Football team is making a return to the ten-nation tournament for the first time since the 2013 edition in Kenya where the team finished in fourth place.
And speaking to busybuddiesng.com ahead of the team’s departure for the competition which is billed to hold from 1 to 16 October, Nwenwe who also led the Special Eagles to a maiden appearance at the World Cup in Mexico last year said Nigeria aim not “just to participate” but, to “lift the trophy”.
“Our aim is to go there and lift the trophy; that is the aim of anybody that is going for a competition,” Nwenwe tod busybuddiesng.com. “We are not just going to participate, we are going to give our best and probably get to the final and win the cup.”
The team’s struggles with securing funding for international tournaments have become a matter of routine and it was a similar story this time around with their participation at the CANAF uncertain right until Monday when flight tickets were secured for the team to travel on Tuesday.
These uncertainties around funding can distract players and cause a loss of focus and motivation in the team but Nwenwe said that he always tries to shield his players from the happenings backstage to ensure they retain focus.
He says the funding constraints blighting the team will be a thing of the past if the Special Eagles force themselves into national reckoning and notoriety by winning the trophy.
“Naturally, funding has been our greatest challenge but I’ve been trying my best to talk to the players to put that behind them and forge ahead and make sure we get something. I know if we achieve something the funding will come.”
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 Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda 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.