The Nigeria Paralympic Committee (NPC) has appealed to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, to give full recognition to para-soccer as the sport seeks international acceptance.
The President of NPC, Monday Emoghawve, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja. The NPC boss regretted that the inability of the sports ministry to make para-soccer a compulsory sport in Nigeria was affecting its acceptability by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC).
“Para-Soccer is still developing in Nigeria but we have been making efforts to ensure it is accepted worldwide and included in the Paralympic Games.
“As it is today, para-soccer has been our baby; few months ago, I contacted the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) with headquarters in Germany.
“They told me that before the game can be accepted worldwide that we should be able to take the sport to the five continents of the world.
“The organisation in charge of disability sport in Germany directed us to send representatives to go round the world for para-soccer advocacy before they could create a body for the sport in Germany,’’ he added.
Emoghawve told NAN that the leadership of para-soccer in the country had been able to take the sport to four African countries.
The NPC president said he would be happy to see the sport in the Paralympic Games just as the IPC has approved para-badminton for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Emoghawve lamented that para-soccer, a game invented by a Nigerian was still being regarded as a non-compulsory sport and urged the minister to make it compulsory at the National Sports Festival (NSF).
“The media should help us to ensure the Ministry of Sports do not remove para-soccer from the National Sports Festival (NSF).
“We have been appealing to the government not to remove a locally developed sport from a Nigerian-organised competition like the sports festival.
“Para-soccer should be the number one sport when it comes to the NSF,’’ Emoghawve said.
He noted that para-soccer needed sponsors for it to meet the IPC standard and possibly be listed among the Paralympics sports. He said,
“We need to promote para-soccer because from my own observation, we still need to modernise it.
“The whiteman will not want to play with hands on slippers and also sit on bearing with legs and toes unprotected.
“So, if the game is being practiced properly at the NSF, everybody will contribute idea that could help to develop the sport before we can package it and sell it abroad.’’ he said.