The many men playing football with crutches are hard to miss when you get to the National Stadium in Lagos on this morning and Wednesday morning. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they train in a sandy sandy field to the left of the main bowl.
And the sight is always amazing. Men who overcame suffering, having lost one of their legs, playing football with deep-rooted intimacy.
Right here Goodluck ogochukwu obieze he found his goal, whales and relatives, having lost one of his legs as a result of an accident 16 years ago during a trip from Onitsha to his village to Orla in the state of Imo.
Obieze was also here this Wednesday morning, training easily with his teammates. Together they are called Special eaglesNigeria Amputee football team,
It was a rollercoaster ride for Obieze, which is one of the senior Special Eagles players who plan to represent Nigeria on 2018 World Cup Amputete in Mexico from October 24 to November 5.
From Onyxha to the world
Having lost one of his legs in a terrible accident, Obieze was lost in the stunning fit of life for people with disabilities. But he felt a spark when a friend told him the story of a football team consisting of people like him, amputees.
"I couldn't believe it when my friend told me about it in 2007– said Obiza Pulse sport after training at the National Stadium in Lagos.
His people were skeptical of this movement, fearing that their loved one would be left alone in the chaotic city of Lagos by itself.
"They do not allow me to go far because of my condition, but I was not afraid"he added.
Obieze went straight to the National Stadium, when he arrived in Lagos and met with one of the coaches of the amputee team, with whom he spoke on the phone, before going on a trip.
"He said that they have no conditions for anyone. "If you are here, you yourself," he told me– said Obieze.
"We train you, but we have no support for anyone. If you have a passion, you can stay, you can see other people with disabilities here, but you are not mistaken– said the coach, according to Obieze.
He stayed. Without a home in Lagos, the National Stadium has become a new roof over your head. He met with some other members of the amputee team, and together they played, worked and lived at the National Stadium. The popular restaurant Ojez at the National Stadium was their favorite place to stay.
Obieze took on a football with an amputation, like a duck to drink water. Without money to get good crutches, he took some of the damaged ones, tied them together with the ropes and climbed the field. He was impressed, and for several weeks he believed that he was representing Nigeria at the 2007 FIFA World Cup Amputete in Turkey.
Thierry Henry cares
After many years of how Nigerians lovingly called "Igwe," Arsenal legend Thierry henry was finally appointed with the title at an event in Lagos during his visit in December 2017.
The former French international was dressed in full attire of Chief Igbo as part of the award, but he immediately took everything away and handed them over to Obieze. "You are the real king, heroHenry told him.
Obieze is featured in a popular ad for Guinness A series of "Made of black", based on stories about how football helps Africans to overcome adversity.
In his role in the announcement, Obieze tells a fascinating story of how football helped him find love, friendship and happiness.
As Ambassador Black said, Obiza had several vis-a-vis with Henry during a football star visit to Nigeria.
Like any other man, Henry was delighted with the story of Ob and was interested.
"My experience with Thierry Henry was very great. Now you can see this blue jersey, it was he who sent it to us– said Obieze.
"When we spoke, I told him about my problems with the team, and he was very happy to help.
“The only problem I face now is that I have all the contacts, it is difficult to contact him. I am writing to my manager, but nothing".
It was through Guinness that Henry sent jerseys – four sets (blue, black, white and green) with 15 T-shirts, a total of 60.
"They called me that Thierry Henry sent some materials, and this is what we use for training– said Obieze.
Henry also promised, but Obieze cannot reach him again.
"He said that I should pass on any information that I submit to him through Guinness, but the Guinness people he gave me I went there yesterday, and it was very hard for me to go there. I tried my best, we spent almost the whole day, but we could not get".
At the time of this writing, Pulse sport could not say a word to anyone in Guinness Nigeria, despite several attempts.
Required special eagles
Obieze desperately needs to get to Henry again, since Special Eagles are at risk of missing the 2018 World Cup in Amsterdam due to the lack of sponsors and funds.
"I Thierry Henry said that the only task we have is to get a World Cup sponsor– said Obieze. ,
"He said that we have an invitation, we should be there. I wrote him letters through Guinness. I and the Federation watched."
It is unknown how many contacts with Obieze even with people in Guinness Nigeria. This was a man from Sweden, known as Stephen Lugard– whom he met at the National Stadium in 2007, who arranged a deal for him.
In accordance with Pulse sport The study, Lugard was also fascinated by the story of Obiz and took responsibility for capturing some of his moments on tape.
The Swede has had several Obieze clips over the years that have produced a documentary created by a London advertising agency. AMV BBDO and directed Wilkins & maguire in a manufacturing company the stench also in London.
Although he is on the N716,000 ($ 2,000) a year as an ambassador for Made of Black, Obieze does not have direct contact with people in Guinness Nigeria, the reason he had difficulty reaching them.
Now or never
Nigeria has never been to the Ampute World Cup. They were invited to the 2007 edition in Turkey, but were unable to do so due to lack of funds. They, however, managed to play in a pair All-African Amputee Football Championship tournaments – Sierra Leone in 2007, Liberia in 2010, Ghana in 2011 and Kenya in 2013.
Ampinist football in Nigeria was in general disregard, like all other sports in Nigeria that are not football.
Since they could not get to the Amputet World Cup in Turkey, Nigeria no longer received invitations from World Federation of Football FansThis was partly due to failure. Nigerian Amputee Football Federation (NAFF) to pay the membership fee.
All that has changed since then Isa Suleiman took over the management of NAFF in February 2018.
"The world community just greeted us after we made the election. That is why we received an invitation to play at the World Cup.– said the source Pulse sport,
"When Suleiman took the position, he paid a membership fee, which was accumulated for six, seven years".
But Nigeria still risks the wrath of the World Amputee Football Federation if special eagles fail to get to the Ampute World Cup in Mexico.
"Now that we have received an invitation, we must make sure that we respect it.– said Obieze.
"That is why we make every effort to make sure that we are playing in a tournament. The world body has seen how passionate we are and we should not disappoint them.
“Because they told us that if we eventually miss this opportunity, they will not become an ambitious football in Nigeria. That they will not even greet us in the body".
Along with the future of football with an amputation in Nigeria, the lives of the players hang in this tournament. They risk losing everything they have been working for over 10 years.
"While it was not so easy, but we are doing everything possible, and my happiness is that the boys answer, " Nwenwe Victorsaid team coach Pulse sport,
"Players, all of whom have a passion to play, when you give them instructions, they stick to it, and this makes it easier for us".
Victor, who has been with the team since 2013, believes that they have the talent to match their opponents on the world stage.
These are special times for special eagles. Just two weeks before the Amputeta World Cup in Mexico, the players turned into a fundraising campaign to raise money.
GoFundMe an account was created to attract about N24,000,000 ($ 68,000), while players also plan to hold a road show to draw attention to their needs.
NAFF Public Relations Officer, Pius Asaba said they were left alone for sources of sponsors and funds before the World Cup.
NAFF is located in the Paralympic Committee of the Ministry of Sport.
"In the ministry, they will tell you to go to the source of funds yourself, and when you look at such a project, going to Mexico, it’s more than the N40M, and if you don’t get a competent company to process it, it will be difficult"Asaba said Pulse sport,
According to Pius, football in amputation in Nigeria is mainly caused by individual efforts, but this can only take them far.
"It is still an individual effort. Their coming is an individual effort. They still have no payback, maybe in the future, but so far nothing– said Asaba.
"Individual efforts are a game effort, so that they are here without receiving a single sign, constantly heading for training.".
The fight for the team trip was evident this Wednesday morning. After training, several players gathered for a pack of sachet water, which was bought by one of their teammates.
"We do not even know how they eat. As now, they finished their studies, what would they take home. Some of them did not even eat breakfast, and they are training– said Asaba.
The lack of sponsors and funds for the World Cup in Amsterdam in 2018 does not deter the players' morale.
"We do not give up our dreams, we believe that something will happen in our favor."Captain side Emmanuel Ibeuuchisaid Pulse Sports.
The boys leave the stadium now, rarely feeding their thirst with water, which they can get.
They go home tired, but still face the hope of playing at the highest level of the game, which they love very much.