The Minister of Sports and Youth Development,Sunday Dare has urged the Special Eagles to be good ambassadors of Nigeria during the forthcoming Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF) in Angola.
Represented by the Lagos Liaison Officer of the ministry, Bode Durotoye, the minister gave the advice on Wednesday in Lagos as the team prepared for departure to Angola.
“I urge you to be good ambassadors of the country in Angola and be of the best behaviour out there.
“Nigeria should return home with the cup in view of its ranking in the world and at the African level.
“We are here praying for you and we expect you to give in all your best to ensure you return victorious,” he said.
The President of the Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF), Isah Suliaman, also told the team to give their best during the tournament and return to the country victorious.
Isah disclosed that the Federation sourced for money independently to ensure the team’s participation in the competition in Angola.
“Our flight is for 1:30pm Wednesday and we have already done all necessary documentations to avoid any form of delay.
“The boys are ready and they are in a very high spirit to face any team in the competition.
“We are hopeful that we will come back victorious because the boys will give in all their best.
“Like I have said before, we have not missed any appearance and we can’t afford to miss this one too. Nigerians should be hopeful and support the team with prayers,” he said.
The team’s acting Technical Director, Pius Asaba, added that he was happy that the team would be participating in the tournament in view of lots of challenges concerning sponsorship of the players.
“We are still appealing to the government to release funds for the Federation.
“ As we speak to you, there is a lot of debt on the federation especially the President, just to ensure the team leaves the country for the competition.
“The fund will go a long way to get some of the debts settled and ensure that players and the officials are comfortable.
“We pray we get good response from the government,” he said.
The captain of the team, Sarafadeen Oyeleke, urged Nigerians to look out for the team during the competition and expect a good performance from them.
“With God on our side, Nigerians should expect a good play out there in Angola.
“Nigerians should be optimistic. I believe we will make the nation proud at the forthcoming Nations cup in Angola,” he said.
NAN reports that 11 players and four officials departed for the CANAF aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight at 1:30pm.(NAN)