The Nigeria Amputee football team were given an unusual welcome to their first world cup at the Mexico 2018 Amputees Football World Cup when their Brazilian counterparts bathed them in a 6-0 baptism of goals.
It was not a rosy start for the Special Eagles whose top players only arrived about seven hours to match time travelling for over 55 hours through South Africa, Brazil, Bogota and into Mexico City then taking the 7 hours trip by road to San Juan, host city of the event.
The team held fort admirably against Brazil at halftime trailing by a lone goal. Their woes were compounded when Ezeji Kennedy got a red card in the first half and their top player, Poland-based Bamgbopa Abayomi sustained an injury from trying to shoulder the team all by himself.
The injured, player, the player sent off combined with the fatigue from their long journey to the event gave the Brazilian side who are Copa America Amputados champions, the advantage to score 5 more goals in the second half.
On Monday, the Special Eagles will battle World Cup defending champions Russia who had beaten El Salvador 4-0 in their opening game, while Brazil takes on El Salvador for their second game of the group.
However, Angola showed what they are made of with a 4-0 spanking of Ukraine whereas Kenya fell 4-1 to former champions Turkey.
Reacting to the result, Fred Edoreh, Coordinator of the fundraiser for the Nigeria Amputee team stated that the team has gone through much and that there is no cause for alarm considering their late preparation and uncertainties in their attendance.
“That the loss to Brazil wasn’t unexpected. They have not been to the World Cup before. They are the most inexperienced in the group. Secondly, we all know about the uncertainty that surrounded our attendance and the inadequate preparation the boys had. Thanks to all those who supported, but we sent off the players late and they arrived with fatigue after 55 hours journey to go straight into a World Cup match with one of the favorites. What is more? They suffered a red card to run the second half with minus one player. They are human beings.
“Today, Monday, they take on defending champions, Russia. It is equally expected to be tough on them because they still haven’t rested well and adjusted to the new environment of Mexico and big stage of the World Cup, but perhaps, let’s see what they come up with.
The Special Eagles “may meet their match in El Salvador in the last game but, in all this, they have registered their name to avert suspension for consecutive non-attendance. The boys can showcase their individual talents and attract global attention on the sport to Nigeria. These are the important takeaways.”