Lagos – Two ex- internationals on Wednesday hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to reward the Golden Eaglets squad that won the maiden FIFA Youth Championship in China.
Nigeria, in 1985, won the maiden championship, which started as U-16, but was later changed to an U-17 tournament.
The former players, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, praised the president for remembering the effort of the team that announced the country to the football world.
Christian Chukwu, who was the assistant coach of the team at the championship, told NAN that the news came as a big surprise to him, coming 30 years after Buhari made the promise.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
Chukwu urged past sporting heroes not to lose hope, saying that “their reward would come someday.
“God will bless the president for his kind gesture of remembering us for our contribution to football development in the country,’’ he said.
Bright Omokoro, a former Super Eagles player, also commended the president for the decision to fulfil the promise to reward the team.
Omokoro appealed to the president to extend his kind gesture to other past sports heroes, to encourage upcoming ones.
“For him to remember the team is good and this will go a long way to encourage the present generation in sports,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Nigeria has won the competition five times since its inception in 1985.
Buhari was the military Head of State when the country won the competition in 1985.
He promised to reward each player and official with a house and told state governors to name a street after each player in his state of origin.
Buhari was, however, overthrown before he fulfilled the promise he made to the victorious team.
The team was coached by Sebastine Brodricks-Imasuen, assisted by Chukwu and the late Bala Shamaki.(NAN)