Special Super Eagles beg for funds ahead of World Cup

With barely three weeks to the Amputee World Cup in Mexico, the Nigerian team has resorted to a crowd-funding campaign to raise the necessary finances.

The Special Super Eagles missed the last three editions of the tournament in 2010, 2012 and 2014 due to a lack of money.

Amputee football consists of seven players, six outfields and one goalkeeper.

The forthcoming tourney will be the 15th edition of the biennial event.

Arsenal Amputee FC’s Michael Ishiguzo noticed their plight and the London-based player has set up an online appeal on GoFundMe to raise almost US$68,000.

“These guys have worked so hard and several times they have missed going to the World Cup because it appears the government, the corporate community doesn’t care about them,” Ishiguzo told BBC Sport.

“I feel their pains. They have no support whatsoever.

“They contribute their own funds to keep the sport, the team and their dream alive while also working hard to fend for themselves and their families.

“Going to the World Cup is a big deal for them because it will bring them to the global place where there are opportunities like I have.”

Special Eagles captain Emmanuel Ibeawuchi, who suffered an auto accident at age 22 leading to the amputation of his right leg, is inspired by Ishiguzo and hopes to fulfil a lifelong ambition after sealing another World Cup qualification.

“We are not giving up on our dreams. We know that sports provide hope for physically challenged people,” Ibeawuchi told BBC Sport.

“Our Powerlifters have proved this at the Paralympics. We also want to show our stuff to the world.

“We believe we are among the best in the world but we have been denied the opportunity of showcasing ourselves for long.

“This time around, we are praying that with public support we can be at the World Cup.”