The Nigeria Amputee football team walked into a baptism of fire in their first game of the Mexico 2018 Amputees Football World Cup on Sunday evening as they were handed a 6-0 beating by Brazil.
It was a harsh taste of reality for the Special Eagles whose main players only arrived about seven hours to match time after over 50 hours journey through South Africa, Brazil, Bogota and into Mexico City before doing the 7 hours journey by road to San Juan, host city of the event.
The Nigeria side held off admirably trailing Brazil 0-1 at half time but they suffered a major blow with a player, Ezeji Kennedy, red carded in the first half. Matters were made worse with Nigeria’s top man, Poland based Bamgbopa Abayomi sustaining an injury from doing too much in a bid to shoulder the team.
Left with a player less, top man injured, coupled with fatigue of the long journey, the Eagles got opened up and the Brazilians, who are Copa America Amputados champions, had a free run shooting in 5 goals in the second half.
The Special Eagles will match out again on Monday to face World Cup defending champions Russia who also handed El Salvador 4-0 in their opening game, while Brazil will take on El Salvador for their second game of the group.
In other fixtures, Angola justified its preparation for the World Cup with a 4-0 spanking of Ukraine while Kenya fell 1-4 to former champions Turkey.
Reacting to the result, Fred Edoreh, Coordinator of the fundraiser for the Nigeria Amputees team said, it is nothing to be alarmed about.
“That the lost to Brazil wasn’t unexpected. They have not been to the World Cup before. They are most inexperienced in the group. Secondly, we all know about the uncertainty that surrounded our attendance and the inadequate preparation the boys had.
“Thanks to all who supported, but we sent off the players late and they arrived with fatigue after 55 hours journey to go straight into a World Cup match with one of the favorites. What is more? They suffered a red card to run the second half with minus one player. They are human beings.
“Today, Monday, they take on defending champions, Russia. It is equally expected to be tough on them because they still haven’t rested well and adjusted to the new environment of Mexico and big stage of the World Cup, but perhaps, let’s see what they come up with.
“They may meet their match in El Salvador in the last game but, in all this, they have registered their name to avert suspension for consecutive non attendance. The boys can showcase their individual talent and attract global attention on the sport to Nigeria. These are the important takeaways.”