Former Captain of the Green Eagles, Segun Odegbami, has joined the call for the Federal Government to organise a befitting reception for the senior women national team, Super Falcons, who at the weekend defeated South Africa to retain the African Women Nations Cup trophy.
The Super Falcons defeated Banyana Banyana in a penalty shootout after the final match had ended goalless in regular and added time in Accra, Ghana.
However, while South Africa, which won silver and fourth-placed Mali were given rousing reception by their various countries, the Super Falcons have not been given any formal reception, save their meeting with Presidency officials on arrival from Ghana.
Calling for a befitting reward for the girls, Odegbami said celebrating the team would show that Nigeria cares for its heroines, adding that it would also serve as an incentive for younger ones to take to sports.
He added: “We should learn how to promote women generally. Those incentives are the things that drive young ones to take to sports.
“Government should reward the girls to attract more ladies to sports because all over the world sport is big business and can provide employment for a large population of Nigerian youths. And so, celebrating the girls should be used as the incentive to attract the young ones to the sector.”
Former Editor of Sporting Sun, Kunle Solaja, who is also reputed as the Nigerian journalist that has covered the most World Cup competitions, said celebrating the girls will send a message to younger ones that it pays to serve Nigeria excellently.
Solaja believes that in “every situation, our sports people should be celebrated. Even if they didn’t win, celebrating them would serve as the incentive to do better next time, as well as attract others to sports.”
He added, however, “I am aware that the Chief of Staff to President Buhari received them on arrival and told them that two Nigerians donated N50 million to the team. But I am of the opinion that any team that represents Nigeria in international competition, even in defeat, should be celebrated to encourage them to do better.”
While also calling for the team to be reward, Sabinus Ikewuaku, a lawyer, who runs a sports management agency, said the Federal Government and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) should start planning for the team to start preparations for the World Cup.
He believes that “Nigeria should aim to go beyond being champions of Africa because after 10 wins in the continent we should target the global trophy this time.
“This is why I will plead with the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, to shelve this war against the NFF and work for the nation’s interest by releasing every kobo meant for the Falcons. We are talking about Nigeria here.
“Money should be made available for the team to start preparations for the World Cup immediately.”