From Maurice Okafor,Enugu.
The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese(Anglican Communion),His grace, Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, has called on both the Federal and State governments, the organised private sector and public spirited individuals to join hands with ‘Bina Foundation’, a Non Governmental organization(NGO) based in Enugu, in promoting blind football in Nigeria.
Archbishop Chukwuma made the call at the opening ceremony of a four- day Africa blind football tournament, holding at Indoor Sports Hall,Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu,organised by Parathletics Federation of Nigeria(PFN) in partnership with Bina Foundation.
“As we can see, the blind can also play football. We are giving God the glory. But in a very special way, I must have to commend the President/Founder of Bina Foundation, Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu, who with the support from her husband, Pharmacist Sir Chris Atuegwu have been given much encouragement to people with special needs, to be trained in various fields so as to fend for themselves’.
“They have gone further to establish football academy for the disabled, particularly the blind, as a way of re- integrating them in the society. So you can see the blind can also play football. I passionately want to use this opportunity to call on the federal government,the various state governments, the organised private sector and public spirited individuals to join hands with Bina Foundation ,in the quest to promote football competitions for the blind here in Nigeria and Africa, as a whole.
Earlier in her speech, the Founder/President of Bina Foundation,Lady Mrs Ifeoma Atuegwu, explained that barely two years after, she introduced football academy in her foundation, the blind team has participated in international football competition in Tokyo, Japan. That presently, she has a mandate from the National Sports Commission to produce a national blind football team for Nigeria. Thus,the essence of the Africa blind football tournament in Enugu involving Ghana, Coted’Ivoire, Cameroun and Nigeria is to help groom blind teams for Africa.
She disclosed that an international recognised blind footbal coach, based in Tokyo Japan, Mr Toussaint Akpweh,is participating in the Enugu tournament to train the various teams. Thereafter, on Saturday there will be female soccer competition between ‘Bina Angels of Nigeria and ‘Team Africa'(selected from Ghana,Cameroun and Cote d’ivoire).
Her words,’It is worthy of note that Bina Foundation is the only registered organization in Nigeria recognized for blind football at the national level by the Federal ministry of Youths and sports development. We are affiliated to the Para- Athletics Federation of Nigeria and approved by the Paralympic Committee Nigeria to represent the country in international blind football championships’.
In his own speech, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Bina Foundation, Sir Chris Atuegwu, extolled the success recorded by Bina blind football team internationally under two years of its foundation.