President Jonathan Rain Gifts On Victorious Super Eagles
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday announced cash reward for the Super Eagles at a reception in their honour for winning the African Cup of Nations.
At a special presidential reception in honour of the victorious Super Eagles at the Banquet Hall of the Villa, President Jonathan rewarded the Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, with N10m, Assistant Coaches got N5m, each of the players also got N5m while the Technical Assistants are to receive N2m each.
In addition, the President rewarded each member of the team with National Honours as well as a plot of land in Abuja.
Keshi bagged the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) while each of the three Assistant Coaches got Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), Captain Joseph Yobo also bagged OON while the rest of the team got Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).
President Jonathan assured the Super Eagles of his support, saying that with the victory of the team, the process of rebuilding the sports sector had begun.
He stated that his administration would continue to give sports a place of pride. The President told the Super Eagles’ handler that he has his full support as the team gets ready to restart the qualification series towards the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
“Nigeria must qualify for the World Cup in Brazil,” Jonathan charged Keshi and his team. He also told the players that more Nigerians will receive them and shower them with money and other gifts.
He commended Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga, who has given $1million to the team and $200,000 to Coach Keshi, and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who has given the team N130m.
The President announced that Chief Emeka Offor would give $500,000 to the players and their officials, ditto Mr. Tony Elumelu, who will also present another $500,000 to the victorious Eagles. Another $1million from other two well-wishers.
Before presenting the trophy to the President yesterday, Chairman of Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Aminu Maigari, introduced the members of the victorious team and their officials.
Yobo presented the trophy to the NFF Chairman who in turn handed it to the Minister of Sports who presented it to the President.
The event scheduled to commence at 7p.m. did not start until 9.30p.m. when President Jonathan came into the venue of the event, just about 20 minutes after the arrival of members of the team and their officials.
Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, said that winning the trophy was a milestone, saying that the ultimate aim “is to be African Champion not only in football but other sporting events.”
He noted that the level of unity of purpose ultimately determines winning or losing in a competition. The minister, therefore, charged those involved in the administration of sports in the country “to put rancour and acrimony aside and give the necessary support to the sports sector.”
Abdullahi commended the courage of the Super Eagles for their outstanding performance in the competition, saying that government would continue to give them the encouragement and support. In attendance at yesterday’s dinner were Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Gabriel Suswan (Benue), Peter Obi (Anambra), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Tanko Al- Makura(Nasarawa).
Also present were Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and his Deputy, Emeka Ihedioha. Earlier, the Super Eagles had returned to Abuja at 3:15p.m. to a tumultuous crowd of jubilant supporters and appreciative residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The victorious Eagles, along with their technical crew and officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, were received by top officials of the Federal Government, led by FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed.
Hundreds of school children and other FCT residents lined the Airport Road route to give the triumphant team a rousing welcome.
Some immaculately dressed students waved national flags as the team’s convoy passed, even as security officials at the airport had hectic time managing the surging crowd.
It took officials of the dog unit of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, several minutes to keep the crowd in line.
Nigeria had on Sunday night defeated Burkina Faso by a lone goal to become the African Champions for the third time. Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, while speaking to journalists on arrival said: “We thank God for the victory.
The next thing is to be patient and I believe things will work out.” Asked to comment on his purported resignation, Keshi replied: “Well, you know there were issues to make things better in the team and all around our football sector in the country.
“But yesterday, I spent about four to five hours midnight with the Minister of Sports, we spoke about things and how we can move things forward. I am here now.”
The Sports Minister, Abdullahi, said: “We thank God almighty that we are part of this process. The issue of Keshi’s resignation, you heard him yourself. And it was blown out of proportion
. “Though there were issues, but I think things were not properly managed as they should be but thank God I was on hand to discuss it.
“He never tendered resignation in the first place, so the issue of resignation is not true. So, Keshi remains the Head Coach of Super Eagles.”
Minister of State in the FCT, Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide, commended the Eagles for making the nation proud at the AFCON.
Akinjide expressed delight that the senior national team was led to victory by a Nigerian coach and assisted by Daniel Amokachi, Ike Shorunmu and Sylvanus Okpala, all Nigerians.