The Home-based Eagles delegation to the 5th African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco returned to the country in the early hours of Tuesday, proudly clutching their silver medals.
Players and officials arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 3am aboard a Royal Air Maroc aircraft, and were received by officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including former Nigeria international Abdulrafiu Yusuf (Assistant Director, Technical) and Mr. Sunday Okayi (Assistant Director, Competitions).
The delegation was then flown to the Federal Capital, Abuja by the first flight out of Lagos.
The team won four of its six matches at the continental championship, drawing one, before losing the Final match to a super-charged Moroccan team on Sunday.
The silver medal-winning outing remains Nigeria’s best in the history of the CHAN, a step better than the harvest by the Class of 2014, who returned with bronze medals from South Africa.
Meanwhile, some of the Nigerian stars who shown brightly at the Championship in Morocco are wanted by clubs in Europe and Asia.
Sunday Faleye is wanted in Austria, while striker Okechukwu Gabriel, who netted the winner in both the quarterfinal and semifinal, is wanted by Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca as well as clubs in Norway, Switzerland and Russia.
Midfielder Ifeanyi Ifeanyi has attracted interest in the Major Soccer League (MLS) in the US while even 37-year-old Rabiu Ali could play the final years of an illustrious career in Asia.
Besides grossing $750,000 prize-money as beaten finalists, Nigeria will enjoy a decent rise in the FIFA World Rankings after they won four, drew one and lost a game in Morocco.
Three weeks in the freezing winter in Morocco has most certainly been worth all the trouble.