Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi
The Federal Government has said it was ready to make the present set of Super Eagles players become the first beneficiaries of the National Sports Hall of Fame, that was recently given approval by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, said on Thursday night while addressing players and officials of the Super Eagles at the Garden Court Hotel abode in Milpark, South Africa, that the government has also mapped out a heroic welcome for the team by Monday next week.
Mallam Abdulahi, who was in company of NFF President, Aminu Maigari, Director, Elite Athletes, National Sports Commission, Dr Bolaji Ojo-Oba, NFF board members, Chris Green and Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu, said the government is proud of the achievement of the team so far but added that the team must complete the job by winning the trophy.
“Victory is not everything but victory is the only thing,” he declared, admonishing the team to go all out for victory in the final against the Stallions of Burkina Faso at the Soccer City in Soweto on Sunday.
Maigari on his part thanked government at the highest level for the huge support the team has been receiving so far, assuring that the team will surely defeat its opponents for the trophy on Sunday. He said all obligations to the team have been met, thanks to express approval by government at all spheres.
The NFF President revealed that he has already received words from President Jonathan of another tele-conference with the team before the final, as the last one so motivated the players that the President feels they need his tonic to excel in Sunday’s grand finale.
Head Coach Stephen Keshi, spoke in a similar vein, noting that the team has come too far in the competition to let its guards down.
On his part Skipper of the side, Joseph Yobo, thanked the Minister for always being there for his team, assuring that the team has resolved to unite and conquer the Nations Cup trophy for Nigeria.
“We will not let Mr President who has been so supportive down and we cannot let our families and the people of Nigeria down. We are certain that the trophy will be won fair and square on Sunday,” he said.
Also on Friday, midfield star, John Mikel Obi, declared that the strength of the Nigerian team is togetherness and unity that was in the past missing from the squad.
“We are together, united and playing for each other and that has accounted for where we are today. All credit must go to the coach who took a gamble on a very young squad, because I’m just 25 years old but am looking like the oldest in the team. This team will not only win the trophy on Sunday for the Nigerian people but will win many more trophies for a long time to come.”