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2020 Olympics: Morocco Emerges Winner Of 2019 African Blind Football Championship


From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu Nigeria

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Morocco national team has emerged winner of the 2019 African Blind Football Championship which took place in Enugu, South- East Nigeria.

The competition, which was attended by eight African nations, was organised by the international Blind Sports Association (IBSA) and solely sponsored by an Enugu based nongovernmental organization NGO, Bina foundation.

With the victory, the Moroccan team, which is also the defending Champions, are to represent Africa in the 2020 paralympic games at the Tokyo, Japan Olympics.

The Championship which served as the African qualifier to the 2020 Olympics, was attended by Nigeria’s Blind football national team, Star Eagles, as well as those of Mali, Cameron, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Nige-Republic and Ivory Coast which competed for the Africa’s sole ticket to Tokyo.

To emerge overall winner, the Moroccan side defeated their Malian counterpart 5-1 in the final match played on Sunday at the Rangers Inter. FC training pitch, while Ivory Coast beat host Nigeria team 2-0, to book the 3rd position.

Speaking during the closing ceremony which was attended by the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastic province of the Anglican church, Most Rev. (Dr) Emmanuel Olisa Chukwuma, Senator Victor Umeh, and some other top dignitaries,  world chairman of  International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) Mr. Ulrich Pfisterer, expressed thanked Bina foundation for single handedly sponsoring the completion.

Bina foundation is approved by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of youth and sports for the development and promotion of blind football in the country and beyond, and currently the IBSA representatives for Nigeria

In her remarks, elated president\ founder of Bina foundation, Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu, explained that she and family established the foundation with a view to promoting social integration and economic empowerment through blind football “and to increase playing opportunities for footballers of all abilities

According to her, the foundation has also trained over 120 men footballers from various states of Nigeria, as well as formed financially and technically sustained seven blind football clubs in all the five states of south East Nigeria.

She added that “it is a thing of joy that our collective struggle to developed and promote blind football in Nigeria and Africa and to give a rewarding identity to the blind through football has not been in vain, as the beautiful game is gaining solid ground in the continent

Lady Atuegwu, noted that the competition which began on November 22nd and ended Sunday, December 1st, 2019, has opened a door of friendship and lasting relationship between the blind footballers from various countries.

The Bina boss, equally thanked IBSA, for giving her organization the opportunity to host the continental competition, adding that all the countries that participated did well.

She hinted that this is the first appearance of Nigeria blind football team known as Star Eagles in an international championship.

 

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