By Amaechi Agbo
Players of an Abuja based football academy, Casmatt Football Academy has appealed to the Federal Government to reopen contacts sports in the country.
The players who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja noted that not lifting the ban placed on contact sports has affected their career as footballers.
Narrating how the outbreak of the ravaging coronavirus also known as COVID-19 has affected them, the players noted that since the country was lacked down in March, they have not found it easy to train nor even play matches.
Making his appeal, the captain of the side, Umaru Musa, called on the government to lift the ban placed on contact sports particularly football to enable the players return to training pitches and continue to develop their talents.
“Seriously, covid-19 has affected us both as players and as an academy because there is no place to train. All us were down, nobody was fit. Right now nobody has been training since the virus came up. It is just now that we are trying to see what we can do.
“We are appealing to the government to open football because right now some of us the players are just on the street,” he said.
The centre back noted that the players have are eager and hungry to return to field and play football again.
On his part, goalkeeper of the academy, Abdulazeez Yusuf Mohammed noted that the lockdown has put them out of football for long.
The safe-hand who said that they have been training alone indoors, asked the government to open up sports because it is important to them.
“Covid-19 has affected us as players and the country generally. But the lockdown put us out of football, we were in the house trying to see what we can do to kip fit. Training indoor was very difficult but we tried to manoeuvre the situation.
“With God and hardwork, I believe we will excel in whatever we are doing. And today, things are getting back gradually.
“We are pleading with the government to open up sports especially football. We plead with them to help us and open the league because this is very important to us. Sports is part of recreational activities in the country and we are appealing to the government to help us to open the league so that we can go back to full football and everything we go back to normal again.”
Ubah Charles Nwokeoma a winger, lamented that the outbreak of the virus denied him and other players the chances to play in the 2020 National Sports Festival that was schedule to hold in Benin, Edo state capital.
The player who is attracting interest from Europe noted that Casmatt Football Academy has not been training since lock down and appealed to the federal government to reconsider its decision on banning contact sports.
“Covid-19 affected me very much. Firstly, we were about going for the National Sports Festival (I was selected to play for the FCT Football Team). We were in camp before we heard the news about the postponement. It affected us from going to the festival.
“Secondly, Casmatt FA for over five months did not train as a team because of covid-19. We were indoors training without our coach. It was difficult.
“The third one is that we are eager to resume training but the government has not reopened contact sports. Before the covid-19 came in, we used to train at the Area 3 pitch and play matches with other academies but those things are no more happening. We want to return to the field and play football again and that is why we are begging the government to reopen sports,” he said.
The federal government in March this year declared a total lockdown of the country following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country in February.
While other sectors of the economy such as transportation, school, religion, recreational activities, etc have been unbanned, the federal government is yet to reopen contact sports.