Bina Foundation moves to promote blind football to international status
Blind football and other sports in Nigeria may soon enjoy an international status as a non-governmental organization, established for people with special needs, the Bina Foundation, has pledged to lift the sports to enable its players compete with their counterparts in other countries of Africa.
President of the Foundation, Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu, who stated this in Enugu, during a reception for its students who formed the nucleus of Enugu state para-athletics association’s contingents at the recently held 19th National Sports Festival in Abuja, also disclosed that the foundation had established the first-ever disability sports and blind football academy in the state.
Atuegwu, who was represented at the occasion by the Manager of the foundation, Mrs Chioma Chikwendu, said already 120 male and 30 female blind footballers from different states of Nigeria had been trained by the foundation, adding that the players participated in the first-ever football tournament and leagues it organized this year in the country.
She stated that the desire of the foundation was to have a national football blind team that could represent the country in international tournaments as obtainable in countries like Cameroon, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Egypt, Cape Verde, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, among others.
She said the Foundation was impressed with the gallant performances of the athletes from the state at the national sports festival led by Coach Silver Ezeikpe, a world record holder in Javelin throws.
According to her, medals won by the athletics at Abuja 2018 sports festival include gold medal in 100 meters race by Chukwuebuka Oji; Silver medal in Shot- Put by Ogochukwu Ogili and bronze medal in Shot-put by Victor Mbah.
Presenting gift items and cash to the athletes, Chairman of the foundation, Sir Chris Atuegwu, pledged the readiness of the foundation to continue to impact the lives of physically-challenged persons in the country by creating skill acquisition programmes.
He stated that the athletes received support from the foundation in many ways towards the festival ranging from provision of sports kits, repair of defective sports equipment and funds’, saying that the idea was to ensure that nothing stopped them from travelling to Abuja for the event.
Also speaking, a Director of the Foundation and Vicar of St Mathew Anglican Church, Amechi, Ven Emeka Ezeji and his counterpart at the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Ven Davidson Udodi, charged the athletes to look beyond their physical disabilities in carving a career in athletics.
They agreed that blind football was one area that the country had not done well in sports and commended the foundation for the giant efforts in giving opportunities to physically –challenged persons.