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By Bolade Oladoye
March 23, 2010 12:27AM
The draw for this year's Para Soccer Easter Challenge was held yesterday at Water Parks in Ikeja, with the opening fixture pitting last year's finalists Team Rivers, the defending champions, against TC Terror of Lagos, in what is a repeat of last year's final.

This year's tournament, commencing from April 2 to 5, will be competed for by eight teams, at the Rowe Park, Lagos. Four teams from Lagos- TC Terror, Premium Sport Glazers, Leeds United, and New African Shrine Warriors. The other teams outside Lagos include two para soccer clubs from Rivers State- Team Rivers, and Amechi Babes. Kaduna Para soccer club and Baba Mai Mangoro club from Adamawa completed the list of the participating teams.

Talking after the draws, the coach of Rivers, Femi Afolayan said he is not afraid of meeting the team that defeated them last year, saying they are ready to get the cup back for Lagos. TC Terror was 2008 champions.

Talking about what the clubs will win, Total Consult, the organiser of the tournament, since inception, said each player of the participating teams are entitled to N10,000 as participating fees, the players of the winning team will get N25,000 each, while the players of the runner-up teams will get N20,000 each.

Para soccer was invented by Mallam Lawan Didi, a Nigerian, and Adamu Mohammed the coach of New African Shrine Warrior, a team bankrolled by Yeni, younger sister of the late Afro Beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, feels that more corporate bodies should get involved in promoting the sport to give it a global appeal. 'This is an interesting sport, people come from all over the world to see us play, with more government intervention, and multinational companies taking interest, we can take it to the level of other games in the world, and provide employment for the players.' Mohammed is the only disabled coach out of all the coaches of the participating teams.

The only Para Soccer player present at the event, John Sunmonu, thanked the organisers and the sponsors for the initiative and improvement on the planning of this year's event, saying there is already a clear departure from what obtained in the past.

One of the highlight of the draws is the unveiling of Promasidor as the sponsor of the event. Since the inception in 2008, it has been sponsored by Cowbell Milk, one of the Promasidor brands.