MAURICE OKAFORE writes that Bina Foundation, a non-governmental organization[NGO] based in Enugu, through it’s blind football academy, is currently engaged with the task of grooming two national blind football teams, the ‘Star Eagles'[male team] and ‘Star Falconets [Female team] that would represent Nigeria in all blind football tournaments in Africa and 2020 Olympics.
The President/ Founder of Bina foundation, Lady Pharmacist Ifeoma Atuegwu, is not relenting in her quest to let blind football be rooted in several nooks and cranny of Nigeria.
The Foundation has started to encourage special schools for the blind located in the South East zone of the country to imbibe the game of football, as a measure of providing them with rays of opportunity to explore their talents, with intention of selecting the talented ones discovered during competitions into the national blind teams.
Precisely, on Friday, June 7, the management of Bina Foundation in collaboration with ‘Bina blind football Academy’ donated blind football equipment and facilities to ‘Barsden memorial school for the blind at Isulo community, in Orumba South local government area of Anambra state. The sports equipment include ‘designed footballs, Jerseys, boots, eye shields etc. to motivate the inmates [visually impaired pupils] in playing and enjoying the game.
Earlier in the year, the Foundation extended similar gesture to blind inmates of Oji River special school of the blind, in Oji River local government, Enugu state.
Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu who was physically present at the inauguration ceremony that marked inauguration of Blind football in Anambra state, at Basden Memorial school for the blind, urged the pupils to use the privilege in proving that there is ability in disability, even as the game of blind football has become a global phenomenon, some of them can be come world known footballers in the near future.
The Anambra state commissioner for Basic Education Professor Azuka Kate Omenugha, who was represented by the Acting Director, blind education, Lady Mrs Ogbalu emphasized that the state government’s efforts in giving sense of belonging to children with special needs has resulted in the transformation of Basden School for the blind and some others the state into a secondary schools. She commended Bina Foundation for the gesture in encouraging the establishment of blind football in Anambra state, promising that the state will make maximum use of the equipment in training the blind pupils to learn and play blind football, with hopes of grooming them into the blind national teams.
Both the President and Secretary General, Para -athletics sports Federation of Nigeria, Hon Dr Amobi Chikwendu, and Mr Sulaiman Isah, as well as Mr Toussaint Apkweh, an internationally recognized blind football coach, based in France, were part of the special guests who witnessed the donation of blind football equipment to Anambra state government by the management of Bina Foundation.
A demonstration of how blind football is played was exhibited by the team from Bina blind football academy, located at New Haven, Enugu, to entertain members of the public, who witnessed the event of inauguration of blind football in Anambra state at Basden memorial school for the blind, Isulo, Anambra state.