By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu
Lagos – Banjo Kamiludeen, Technical Director, Nigeria Deaf Football Association (NDFA) on Thursday expressed delight at the decision of Bet9ja, a Nigeria-based sports betting company, to sponsor the abandoned National Deaf Challenge Cup.
Kamiludeen told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the championship was last held in 2010 due to inability of NDFA to secure sponsors.
He said that the lack of sponsorship had stalled the development of the sport in the country.
“This championship is a major platform that helped to make deaf football popular in the country and it was where some members of the national team were discovered.
“We enjoyed support from corporate bodies and individuals that made it possible for the championship to hold four times, and the last edition was held seven years ago.
“We have suffered serious setback as a result of poor response of some of our sponsors and our efforts to get new ones has not yielded positive fruits,’’ he said.
He said that with the response of Bet9ja to sponsor the next edition, which is the 5th, the championship would now hold in Ijebu Township Stadium, Ogun State from Dec. 1 to Dec. 9.
The director said that eight states had registered their teams’ interest in participating in the championship and urged others to ensure prompt registration.
According to Kamiludeen, the registration is needed to guide the championship’s Local Organising Committee (LOC) on match fixtures and other necessary arrangements for the event.
“Registration is on and open to interested states that also have deaf football teams, it is an opportunity for them to expose their footballers and improve their skills,’’ he said.
The technical director said that part of the objectives of the championship was for the NDFA to identify upcoming talents.