The Assistant Coach of the Nigeria Amputee football team, Gbenga Dosunmu, on Wednesday in Lagos said that zero funding for the team for the preparation towards competitions was a distraction.
Dosunmu expressed the regret in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency while reflecting on the preparations of the team for the African Amputee Football Nations Cup, scheduled for Angola.
The Assistant coach said that the team had yet to receive any form of attention from the government or private organisations in their quest to represent Nigeria at the Nations Cup.
“We are still facing the recurring problem which is zero funding for this team, this I can describe to as great distraction to our preparations toward the Amputee Nations Cup in Angola.
“We are appealing to the government and private organisations to come to our aid as we want to represent the country, for us, we have a slim hope of getting funds.
“By the grace of God, we are preparing well on our own to see that we are in form for the tournament. This is not the first time we are facing the same situation.
“Last year, we had to beg for funds before we were able to travel to Brazil for the World Cup, this year again, the same situation is playing out, the government should know that we have a peculiar case,’’ he said.
Dosunmu said that the situation surrounding the amputee footballers was of great concern, adding that most of the players are self-sponsored in spite of their conditions.
“We are supposed to be in the camp now for preparation for the tournament, but sadly, we are not, what we are doing here is just to train.
“The team has suffered neglect in spite of the fact that the players are dedicated, most if not all are self-sponsored. Some of them usually come from far places to train in the stadium.
“Some of the players are living as far as the neighbouring Ogun State, but do come to the stadium for training in spite of their condition, yet no form of incentive or allowance for them.
“For us, we need to be adequately prepared for the competition in Angola, because other countries coming have started camping,’’ he said.
Dosunmu said that Para Athletes had shown much ability in disability, adding that the team needed to be encouraged to do more for the country.
“The problem with the country’s preparation for competitions is always about funding, but at the last minute, money will be released; this should not be a template.
“Maybe because Nigerian athletes do perform well during the competitions in spite of shoddy preparations is responsible for this attitude, but I can say that it is not the way to go.
“For the disabled athletes, government should help them because they are ready to give their best away from begging for alms on the street to survive.
“Some of these athletes have brought glory to the country more than their able bodied counterparts, so, they should be accorded some respect as well,’’ he said.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)