The Nigerian Amputee Football team is set to depart today for the Amputee Football World Cup holding in Mexico after a flurry of last-minute donations helped the team raise sufficient funds for flight tickets.
The Nigerian Amputee Football Federation had originally planned to send an initial 10 man advance squad made up of seven outfield players, two goalkeepers and the head coach when their plan of raising forty million naira through crowd-funding and public appeals could not be realised. The advance squad was supposed to leave yesterday.
But a timely donation of ten million naira from former vice president Atiku Abubakar and the intervention of Super Eagles Captain John Mikel Obi who bought two tickets for the contingent mean the entire 20 man rooster will now be able to leave for the World Cup together.
Nigeria had qualified for previous editions of the World Cup in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and a lack of funds meant the country wasn’t able to get a team to either of those tournaments and with reports suggesting that a fourth no show would lead to a permanent suspension of the country from the World Amputee Football Federation, the interventions from Atiku and Obi means the Special Eagles will now be able to make their debut at the tournament.
The Special Eagles have been paired with Russia, El Salvador and Brazil in the World Cup. They face the Brazilians on the 28th, Russia on the 29th and El Salvador on the 30th. Angola, Ghana and Kenya are the other African teams at the tournament.