Thursday, 14 February 2013


President Goodluck
Jonathan on Tuesday
announced a cash gift of
N5m to each member of
the victorious Super
Eagles and the team's three assistant coaches
that clinched the gold
medal in the just
concluded Africa Cup of
Nations in South Africa. While the
Head Coach,
Keshi, was
given N10m,
members of the technical crew were also given N2m each. The cash gifts also came with a
plot of land and national
honours for each member the
team. Keshi bagged the national
honour of the Commander of
the Order of Niger while his
three assistants and the team
captain, Joseph Yobo, were
conferred with Officer of the Order of Niger. The remaining players were
conferred with Member of the
Order of Niger. Jonathan made the
announcement amidst loud
ovation from the lucky players
during a state dinner he
organised in their honour at
the Presidential Villa, Abuja, few hours after their arrival in the
country. The President said two sets of
Nigerians youths, musicians and
footballers, had been placing
the nation on the world map. He described the players as
super heroes, saying their
victory was an inspiration to
million of Nigerians. He said the trophy was the
most precious centenary gift
presented to the nation by the
team. The President recalled that
there was skepticism on the
part of Nigerians on the ability
of the team to deliver when
they left for the tournament. He commended them for
ignoring criticisms and refusing
to surrender by their
superlative performance. "The lesson in your victory for
all of us is that we should
never give up in the midst of
criticism. Believe in yourself.
With time, you will see the
fruits of your labour," he said. The President urged Nigerians
not to allow their differences
to divide them, observing that
the noise of joy during sporting
victories were the same across
the country. Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji
Abdullahi, described the victory
as another moment of national
rebirth and fresh air. He said as the nation savours
the sweetness of the victory,
sports administrators in the
country were not unaware of
the responsibility placed on
their shoulders to sustain the victory at all levels and in all
sports. "Winning this trophy is only a
milestone for us, not the
destination. Until we fulfill your
(the President's) vision for us
which is to be the best, we will
not rest on our oars," he said. In formally presenting the
trophy to the President, the
Chairman of the Nigeria Football
Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari,
said it was a national pride for
the players to win the trophy after 19 years. Jonathan had while engaging
the players and their handlers
in a teleconference ahead of
the tournament's semi final
match against Mali promised to
make them "very happy young men" if they could return to
the country with the trophy. The colourful event was
attended by the wife of the
President, Patience Jonathan;
Vice President Namadi Sambo;
President of the Senate, David
Mark; Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu
Tambuwwal; Deputy President
of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu;
Deputy Speaker of the House
of Representatives, Emeka
Ihediora, and state governors among others.

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