Para-Soccer At 30: Lagos To Host Polio Day Championship


The Para-soccer Federation of Nigeria will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Nigeria-invented game at the 6th Para-soccer World Polio Day Championship in Lagos from October 18 to October 25, says the federation’s President, Musbau Didi.
Didi made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen Abuja.
Tidesports source reports that October 24 has been declared by United Nations (UN) as World Polio Day to remind the world of the danger in Poliomyelitis which affects children from 0-5 years and how to kick it out of the human world.
Tidesports source also reports that Nigeria is almost out of the polio endemic countries through sustained advocacy and vaccination by the government and donor organisations, especially, Rotary International.
According to Didi, the choice of Lagos for the 2018 edition is to celebrate three decades of para-soccer and to sustain the sensitisation of the public across the six geo-political zones on the need to fully kick out polio.
“Survivors of poliomyelitis are spread across the country and we are using the championship to achieve our goals at a time.
“We use the annual competition to sensitise the public on the consequences of polio attack on their children. Also, to show the world that survivors can still engage in any healthy sport peculiar to them.
“Coincidentally, para-soccer was invented by myself and few other polio survivors in Lagos 30 years ago, and it has been gaining popularity till date and hopefully, it will soon become an continental sport.
“It is already being embraced in Ghana and others are still coming, which shows that polio survivors around the world are willing to be united through sports like their able-bodied counterparts,” he said.
On how the game has developed over the last three decades, the federation’s president said it had been continuously evolving.
“In the last 30 years, para-soccer has become a national sport in Nigeria where paraplegic persons in all the states now compete with each other.
“Through our commitment to development of the game, we now have a national league like any other sport in the world.
“Also, we now have zonal leagues which makes it possible to engage our athletes as professional players, many of them are being employed by state governments because they are good players.
“Para-soccer is just being included in the National Sports Festival (NSF) for the fourth time which is one of the requirements for it’s inclusion as a continental sport.
“I thank Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung for considering our inclusion, and I also thank the Permanent Secretary of the ministry,” he said.