The male football team of the Nigeria Deaf Sports Federation qualified for the deaflympics tournament in 2011. They were also seeking sponsorship after the disappointment which they got in 2008 and failed to make it despite qualifying.
The then Secretary-General Lukman Agbabiaka and Coach Kamiludeen Banjo had worked tirelessly by carrying the burden of the team on their shoulders. The also felt the need to have a media officer was necessary. Since publicity was also key.
According to them, most of their activities got little attention from the media. Since most Journalist had little or no interest in covering Deaf Football.
They then came in contact with a journalist, Joseph Odoekwu inside the National Stadium. He was working towards publishing the maiden edition of Sports Intelligence Magazine.
Joseph Odoekwu Accepts to become media officer
Coach Banjo and Agbabiaka proposed to Joseph Odoekwu to become the team’s media officer, an offer which he gladly accepted with no incentives attached to it.
He also identified that since the team did not have a name, there was need for one. This he explained would ease publicity and make the team marketable. However, it was thrown back to him to go search for a name that could suit the image of the team.
After some days, he came up with the name “Deaf Eagles of Nigeria”, Coach Banjo was pleased with it. Unfortunately, Agbabiaka who was the then Secretary-General shook his head, in outright rejection. This opened the floor for further argument.
The Disagreement To Agree
Coach Banjo who understood sign language became the translator. He asked Agbabiaka on behalf of Joseph what he had in mind. Agbabiaka requested for a sheet of paper and wrote “Indomitable Deaf Football Team of Nigeria”. That name surprised Odoekwu.
Odoekwu argued that “Deaf Eagles of Nigeria” will give the team a sense of belonging. Since Nigeria’s male national teams were associated with the eagles family. More so, he pointed that the Cameroonian national team were known to be “Indomitable” and strongly kicked against it.
He further pointed that naming the team “Deaf Eagles of Nigeria” will give the team an edge in its publicity and marketing. Although it was a bit difficult convincing Agbabiaka, but when he finally accepted, he did that with his whole heart.
The Magazine publishes Deaf Eagles of Nigeria
Sports Intelligence Magazine officially granted Coach Banjo an exclusive interview in Sports Intelligence Magazine. It was published on pages 5 and 6 of the maiden edition in 2012.”Deaf Eagles of Nigeria” became the official name of the team.
When the magazine was eventually published, it appealed to all the deaf who saw it. With Coach Banjo and two others carrying their trophy on the editorial page. Hence, other journalists who wrote about the team worked with the name.
The then President of the federation was captured posing with the maiden edition of the magazine in the next edition. Although the team eventually went for the tournament, they could not scale through the group stage.