After weeks of uncertainty where their participation at the Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF) tournament scheduled for Benguela, Angola had been threatened due to funding constraints, Nigeria’s Amputee Football team also known as the “Special Eagles” will finally depart for the 10-nation tournament on Tuesday, 1 October.
The team which has been in camp at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in the National Stadium, Lagos, will leave for Angola from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight after enough money was sourced to settle their ticket fares.
Due to a paucity of funds, the
Marketing consultant to the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF), Fred Edoreh, disclosed that part of the funds secured to facilitate the team’s travel was provided by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with further funds expected from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
However, in a chat with busybuddiesng.com, president of the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF) Isah Sulaiman revealed that while travel arrangements have been taken care of, the federation doesn’t have “one kobo” to settle players’ allowances and bonuses at the tournament.
Sulaiman said that federation hopes to secure funds for players’ allowances from “people who have promised to assist us” and the Ajeromi Ifelodun local government which has also promised to assist in that regard.
With the likelihood of securing additional funding for the players’ welfare before the 1pm departure time remote, Suleiman said an official would most likely stay back to ensure funds are collected before joining the rest of the team in Angola.
Feeding and accommodation for all ten participating teams will be handled by the hosts.
The Nigeria Amputee Football team has always fought uphill battles to secure funds for international competitions and have missed previous editions of the CANAF due to a lack of funds.
Their maiden appearance at the Amputee Football World Cup in Mexico last year was only possible after a public fundraising drive and donations from well-meaning Nigerians.
Even as they get set to travel to Angola, the team will be leaving without their full complement of kits with manufacturers in a last minute dash to cobble uniforms together.
The kits would be transported to the team in Angola along with any additional funds raised in the coming days.
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.
The Nigeria Amputee Football team last appeared at the CANAF in 2013 where they finished 4th at the tournament held in Kenya.