Para-soccer players in Akwa Ibom State have expressed worry over alleged ‘neglect’ of their plights by the state government, saying it has constituted impediment to their carriers, as well as impoverished them.
Speaking in Uyo on Tuesday, the Chairperson of Akwa Ibom State Para-Soccer Association (AKISPA), Mrs. Comfort Essien, listed the challenges facing the association to include lack of training pitch for the para-soccer players, mobility, welfare and vehicle for easy movement of the players.
Essien said the association has for over a year now been without a secretary and a coach following the retirement of the immediate past secretary and coach.
According to her, “Things are not in order. If the Ministry formed the association, I think the Ministry needs to pay attention to it.
“I was told that in four years, I should form a team that is made of Akwa Ibom players. How will I do that? Right now, I don’t have a coach.”
The association chairperson noted that para-soccer as a medal winning game, was capable of engaging thousands of physically challenged persons in the state positivity.
She said that giving necessary support to para-soccer sports would offer opportunity to a number of paraplegics to be trained to become relevant to themselves and others.
According to her, the state’s para-soccer team has over the years featured in National Sports Festivals and other competitions within and outside the country.
“Para-Soccer has remained a game of hope for the physically challenged persons and lucrative if well funded,” Mrs. Essien added.
She called on Akwa Ibom State government, Ministry of Youth and Sports and good spirited individuals to come to the aid of the association.
Recall the Akwa Ibom State Para-Soccer Association was inaugurated by the state government alongside other 29 associations last year.
The idea, according to government, was to rejuvenate and re-position all sports associations in the state for effective participation in both national and international sporting competitions and win laurels to the state in respective sports as well as discover budding stars and nurture then for future needs.