Dare made this pronouncement on Tuesday while hosting players and officials of the U-17 Boys, Golden Eaglets to a reception following their victory at the WAFU B U-17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana.
I want to give credit to the NFF for implementing the cardinal principles that we agreed on at the meeting on youth football development. Now, we can see that the emphasis on merit and competence has started to bear fruits. The U-17 and U-20 girls have qualified for their FIFA World Cup competitions, and the U-17 and U-20 boys have won regional tournaments in an emphatic manner, with promises of what we can look forward to at their African championships next year.
Our hard focus on grassroots development in all sports will continue. I congratulate the players and coaches of the Golden Eaglets for winning so convincingly in Ghana and I want to charge you to remain focused on the continental championship in order to get the ticket to the World Cup. For you players, you must stay humble, hardworking, and obedient to your coaches.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar warned the players against allowing distractions from all manner of agents and player-managers, but rather be dedicated to improving their craft with temperance, endurance and a level head.
Abubakar also announced a cash reward of N2m(Two Million Naira)for the team owing to their exemplary performance at the tournament.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi introduced each player and team official for a special handshake with the Honourable Minister, stating that Head Coach Nduka Ugbade was the captain of the first Nigeria team to win the FIFA Cadet World Cup, and was also assistant coach to Manu Garba when Nigeria triumphed in the United Arab Emirates in 2013. “He is also a global consultant on football science.”
Ugbade hailed the event as “a special occasion” and said the team is encouraged to do its utmost best to continue to bring honour to the nation, first by putting up a stellar outing at the U-20 AFCON in Algeria and then going on to hold its own at the FIFA World Cup finals in Peru.
Also at the occasion were the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engineer Habu Ahmed Gumel; Director of Federations and Elite Athletes Department, Dr. Simon Ebhojiaye; NFF’s Director of Communications, Mr. Ademola Olajire; Director of Facilities in the Ministry, Mr. Olatunji Okedairo and special assistant to the Honourable Minister, Ms. Mary Onyali and Messrs Toyin Ibitoye and Kola Adeyanju.
Editor: Paul Akhagbemhe