Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) has finally redeemed his pledge to the 1985 World Cup winning team after he rewarded members of the U-16 football team that won the 1985 FIFA tournament in China when he was the military Head of State on Thursday with N2 million each.
|Buhari with the 1985 Golden Eaglets players as he pledges N2M each to the players|
The announcement was made at a presidential reception organised for those who made Nigeria proud in various sport competitions at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari however made a huge error by announcing the sum of N200m each to the players, which was greeted by loud jubilation in the hall but that was curtailed by the Minister of Youth and Sports as he mounted the podium to correct the error.
Former players such as Fatai Atere, Nduka Ugbade, Jonathan Akpoborie, Baldwin Bazuaye, Victor Igbinoba, late Kingsley Aikiobare etc. will benefit from the pledge.
Apart from the 1985 Eaglets, other national teams that have done the country proud in recent times were not left out of the exercise. The Golden Eaglets that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, the national U-23 team that won the AFCON U-23 championship late last year in Senegal, and host of other Team Nigeria athletes that made the country proud in various sporting competition were also rewarded by the president during the reception ceremony at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday.
N1.2million for the 2015 FIFA U-17 world champions and N500,000 for each of the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations winners, were doled out by the President. Power lifter were rewarded with N450,000 and N600,000 respectively for winning gold and silver medals for Nigeria at the world championship last year.men and women basketballers; powerlifters; world scrabble champion Wellington Jighere and officials; boxer Olanrewaju Durodola; athletes and officials; the U-17 world champion footballers and; the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations winners.
Buhari said the monetary rewards represented “a token of appreciation for your efforts and patriotism,” even as he hailed the “consistency, determination, will-power and penchant for success in recent times” of Nigerian sportsmen. “I urge the managers of this sector to keep up the momentum.”
The President, who directed a one-minute silence in honour of late Kingsley Aikhiobare (a member of the U-16 world champions of 1985 who died in London in 1996), said the reception and rewards were “in line with our belief that the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung in his speech thanked President Buhari for rewarding the athletes after making the country proud in various sports they attended.