Nigeria Deaf Football Association (NDFA) says it is grateful to the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development on the forthcoming West Africa Deaf Football Union (WADFU) tournament in Sierra Leone.
Banjo Kamiludeen, the NDFA head coach, on Saturday in Lagos said that the association had received support towards its participation in the tournament.
He told NAN at the national camp of the association’s footballers, known as ‘Deaf Eagles’, that the ministry was powering the team to participate in the tournament.
Nigeria Deaf Eagles and eight others were expected to feature in the Sierra Leone Deaf Sports Union (SDSU) tournament holding in Freetown from Tuesday to Oct. 6.
“We are sincerely grateful to the federal ministry of sports for responding to our proposal on preparations for this forthcoming tournament which made it possible for us to be in camp now.
“Necessary preparations are in progress and the boys are in top gear training. So, we are optimistic that we will be participating in the tournament which is starting next week,” Kamiludeen said.
He said the federation approached some individuals, corporate bodies and state governments for support who promised to identify with the Deaf Eagles.
The coach, however, appealed to such individuals and bodies to respond promptly.
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He said his team had engaged in friendly matches with private football clubs as part of its build-up programme to strengthen the footballers’ readiness for a glorious outing in the tournament.
The head coach disclosed that the group of 18 footballers and the team’s coaching crew camped at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos were expected to depart Nigeria on Tuesday.
“We are hopeful and still expecting support from other sources, as it will really motivate the footballers and will make them know that Nigerians are solidly behind them.
“The friendly matches are an extension of the camp programme and it helped to evaluate our current form as with their wings and fortify team spirit in them,” he added.
Kamiludeen said Nigeria, who were champions at the first three editions of the annual WADFU tournament, would be battling for a place in the Deaf Africa Cup at the competition.