Lagos – Some amputee footballers on Wednesday implored the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF) to entice philanthropists and corporate organisations to sponsor its activities in 2016 for the sport to improve.
The physically challenged footballers, who eke out their living from the sport, made the plea in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Babatunde Ibrahim, a striker, told NAN during the team’s training session at the National Stadium, Lagos, that their appeal was necessary because it was long they featured in any national or international competitions.
Ibrahim said the body had its calendar of national and international events for the year but which would be hardly implemented due to paucity of funds as in the past.
“We are tired of no competitions both within and outside the country; this is the reason why we are crying out early enough this year.
“The federation should wake up to its responsibility. Members should put their money together to host at least a national tournament or source for sponsors to execute the programme,’’ he said.
Nonso Iwuagwu, a midfielder, pleaded with corporate bodies and former footballers to motivate the amputee footballers by providing them with kits such as crutches, boots, balls and jerseys for training.
According to Iwuagwu, some of the footballers cannot afford the kits but are passionate about developing their skills to contribute to football development.
“There are many physically challenged persons across the nation who are liability to their families and the nation in general.
“But those of us who have discovered our talents in football should be given the necessary support to forge ahead, we need sponsorship from the general public,’’ he said.
Gbenga Dosumu, NAFF Assistant Coach, suggested periodic coaching clinics to broaden the skills of amputee coaches.
Dosumu suggested the invitation of a foreign resource person to hold such course for coaches across the country for them to acquire more knowledge.
“Coaching courses are very important because we are expected to train and update the footballers to sharpen their skills and keep them in tune with the soccer rules.
“Its more economical to bring an amputee expert down here for the benefit of a lot of coaches in the states,’’ he added.
NAFF Secretary, Victor Anusa, told NAN that the body had drawn up its programme of activities for 2016 and the federation’s marketing committee had begun a sponsorship drive for its implementation.
Anusa said the federation was determined to revive the state of the sport which, according to him, was affecting the improvement of amputee footballers.
“We are aware of the problems encountered by the footballers and coaches being the reason why we are working hard to realise great improvement this year,’’ he added.
NAN reports that amputee football game is a seven-a-side played by physically-challenged person with amputated limb or hand. (NAN)