Bamgbopa Alabi, a Nigerian-born Polish amputee player has appealed to government and well-meaning Nigerians to support amputee football.
Alabi told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos that the state of amputee football in the country was not good.
According to him, amputee football is well recognised and had large support in other countries of the world.
“In other parts of the world, amputee football has gained recognition from their governments, ex-footballers, companies and some philanthropists.
“Here in Nigeria there has not been much or any support.
“We need government support, individual, private organisations, philanthropists as well as well-meaning Nigerians to support the amputee football.
“Nigeria is blessed with people with disabilities with great talents and have been excelling brilliantly when they represent the country,’’ he said.
He noted that government had taken too long to honour the Special Eagles after their performance in Cup of Africa Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF) in Angola, 2019.
“Presently the situation of Amputee Football in Nigeria is bad.
“The Nigeria Amputee Football team came second at the CANAF in Angola 2019 with the expectation that the team would to be honoured or get recognition for their historic performance from the government.
“This victory came after 17 years of participating at different international tournaments without winning anything.
“As I grant this interview, there hasn’t been anything from the government or Ministry of Youth and Sports to appreciate the effort of the team that made the country proud at the tournament.
“Most of the players have no house of their own, those who are in rented apartments are being victimised by their landlords.
“Life generally has not been okay with the team and its officials,’’ he said.
Alabi said that since the COVID-19 lockdown was eased, the players are yet to resume training.
“Also there has not been any roadmap or plan when the team will resume training after government eased the COVID-19 conditions for all contact sports.
“So the situation has not been okay,’’ he said.
He advised the governments to ensure that the players explore the Polish Amputee Football League, in order to add more value to the players.
“There are lots of talented Amputee players back home in Nigeria. We still have more players like me who play very good football.
“I can’t wait to see them play also in Poland, in order to add more value to Amputee football from another level,’’ he said.