Banjo Kamiludeen, the Technical Director, Nigeria Deaf Football Association (NDFA), says the rescheduled Fourth World Deaf Football Championships has restored the association’s hope of activity in the year.
Kamiludeen said on Sunday in Lagos that the Korea Deaf Sports Federation, host of the mundia, had rescheduled the event, billed for Changwon Gyeongsangnam-do from September to November.
He said that the coronavirus pandemic was instrumental to the adjustment of the championships’ new dates to between Nov. 2 and Nov. 17 for the fourth edition of the tournament.
“The coronavirus pandemic has affected the events and activities, forcing most countries to shut down and which also affected sports, particularly the 2020 World Deaf Football Championships.
“But few days ago, we got information from the host country, South Korea, that the championships have been rescheduled and will now hold in November, instead of the initial September.
“With the COVID-19 lockdown gradually being eased in Nigeria, we are certain that this year’s Deaf World Cup Championships will hold,” Kamiludeen said.
According to him, the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), organisers of the championships, has designed the fiesta for players who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The NDFA technical director added that he would take advantage of the relaxed lockdown to prepare programmes for the footballers, who had been off training since the past four weeks.
“It’s very important to prepare the deaf footballers for international championships, because of their hard-hearing challenge. And that is why we have to make our training regular.
“We will commence training for the world championships when the COVID-19 lockdown is totally relaxed in order to get the footballers, who have relaxed for too long, back,” he added.
The technical director said that the national team, known as Deaf Eagles, would still have to play continental qualifications towards the world championships, as only four were expected to represent Africa in the mundia.
Kamiludeen, who said that Nigeria was rated number one in West Africa and number two in Africa, added that the team had made five appearances in West Africa Deaf Football Union (WADFU) and recorded outstanding performance in the continent.