Nigeria Special Eagles intend to participate in the fifth edition of the Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF) tournament scheduled for Angola in 2019, an official has said.
Ugochukwu Obieze, an official of the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF), said on Monday in Lagos that the sport’s World Cup in Mexico has been an eye-opener and they wanted more.
“We have broken the jinx by our participation in the World Cup held in Mexico and it was a great achievement for the team and a good exposure for us.
“The Cup of Nations is the next tournament and our intention is to take part in the event, which is the fifth edition and is coming up next year,” he said.
CANAF is a biennial tournament organised by the Amputee Football Federation for Africa (AFFA) to determine Africa’s best team and the World Cup qualifiers.
Obieze who is a member of the Special Eagles said the team’s mission of featuring in the Cup of Nations has now pushed the footballers into training to prepare early.
He however said NAFF would require considerable assistance from various bodies to enable the Special Eagles attend the tournament.
“Our training now is geared towards participating in CANAF and the idea is to take advantage of our experience at the World Cup to correct the individual wing lapses and enhance team spirit.
“The World Cup provided a good ground for us to play with teams from across the continent, which added value to our game, in spite of our performances.
“We will however need strong support from individuals, corporate organizations and the sports authorities to prepare very well and make the trip in order to participate in CANAF,’’ Obieze added.
Amputee football is played by seven disabled players on each team, comprising six outfielders and one goalkeeper.
While the goalkeeper should have upper extremity amputation, the outfielders must be those who have lower extremity amputation, using lofstrand (forearm crutches) and playing with their prosthesis.