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CANAF sets up three committees as African Paralympic Games plan to feature Para-soccer in 2020


The Nigeria Amputee Football Federation (NAFF),  Isah Suleiman, says three committees have been set up to drive NAFF activities toward the 2019 Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF). “All hands must be on deck to get things going to achieve a common goal toward our participation in the amputee nation’s cup which is coming up in October.

“It was on that note the committees set up and an appointment made because, as board members, we are fully aware of our challenges and should know how to go about them. The NAFF president said that the appointment of Asaba as NAFF interim Technical Director resulted from a petition received by the board about alleged misconduct against Feyisetan Are, the suspended Technical Director.

According to him, it was unanimously agreed by the board members that they should step down, while the disciplinary committee looks into the petition. He added that the board set up a Constitution Review Committee that should come up with a draft constitution which the board would ratify and submit to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development before the end of April.

NAN reports that CANAF is a biennial tournament organized by Federation of Africa Amputee Football. The fifth edition of the tournament will take place in Angola in September. The clamour for globalisation of para-soccer, an indigenous sport is gradually becoming a reality as Olusade Adesola, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development says the game should be at the maiden African Paralympic Games.

Adesola made the assertion on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria Abuja. NAN reports that the first African Paralympic Games is expected to hold in Morocco in 2020 after the 2019 African Games scheduled to hold between August and September. Para-soccer originated in Lagos, Nigeria in 1988, being invented by a group of paraplegic youths.

NAN also reports that it has developed to the national level even as sports betting in Nigeria having featured in National Sports Festivals and was demonstrated during 2003 African Games (COJA), while Ghana has fully embraced it. The sport needs to be recognized as a continental game for it to get into global sports.

According to the permanent secretary, once the agitation for Paralympic Games fully scales through, Para-soccer will get to the continental level. “I strongly believe that Para-soccer will make a debut in the next African Games because the para-committee has argued that they want to have their Continental Games separate from that of the able body.

“If that is done, it means they will want more competitions to come in. “Amputee football is already there, this one too (Para-soccer) can also be there. We are really working on it. “Para-soccer is relaxing to watch if it gains more popularity and attention it will really compete with any other sport,” he said.

Adesola commended the board of Para-soccer Federation of Nigeria (PFN), led by Misbahu Didi for its resilience towards making the game an international sport. “We appreciate the federation for its consistent efforts toward the development of the game. I commend the board led by Didi for its good work.

“I urge corporate bodies to continue to support sport generally because it is very expensive to run. “The board really keyed into the vision of Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youths and Sports Development by focusing on the development of the game from grassroots to the national level,” he said. Similarly, Didi said the Federal Government through Dalung and Adesola had really motivated growth of the game by directly supporting its programmes.

“The entire Para-soccer family appreciates the current sports minister and the permanent secretary for honoring us with their presence and other supports when needs arise. “That has really helped in attracting the more fans to the sport, and we strongly believe they will continue until the game gets global recognition.

“The federation will work closely with the Paralympic committee to fully introduce Para-soccer to the entire continent and the world,” he said. Didi also commended state governments for sponsoring and motivating their Para-soccer teams for greater heights. NAN reports that the Paralympic Committee of Nigeria (PCN) will be required to present the sport to the African Paralympic Committee for inclusion in its maiden Continental Games in 2020 at Morocco.

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