For their excellent performance so far in the African Under-17 Championship qualification, Governor Godswill Akpabio has redeemed the N10million pledge he made to the Golden Eaglets with an advice that they shun violence and take to sports for self sustenance.
Akpabio explained that the donation was meant to serve as a tonic to the team to achieve greater heights, especially winning their second leg match in Bamako, Mali which comes up in a fortnight.
At Princeville Hotel, Calabar on Monday night where he presented the cheque to the Eaglets, Akpabio said: "Today is a great day and as young boys I challenge you to play like Nduka Ugbade and Emmanuel Amuneke. At a point, Nigerian football was on the decline and Nigerians were looking in your direction for solutions to halt the drift. May I formally redeem the pledge of N10 million I made to the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria."
Represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Governmental Affairs, Mr. Akaniyene Eyo, the governor observed that "Sports is great. Our youths should use sports to develop themselves and develop themselves and the nation. These vices that our youths are growing into are because they have not found themselves and time to do something positive.
"Sport is very positive. Don't think about football from only the angle of money. There should be morals and dedication. We have seen a lot in the past 10 years in football. Nigeria Federation, Nigerian government will bring out, if these people don't bring you out the big fishes in Europe will not see you and the moment they see you your heads will be bigger than your shoulders, therefore you dwindle and forget your source and concentrate on the money you make.
"That is one of the reasons that Nigerian football in the past 10 years has not been okay. The ranking of Nigeria in Africa is poor and I believe you (young players) are going to redeem it for us in Jesus name.
He assured that: "From next year, Akwa Ibom, is going to deliver to the world an Olympic size stadium. The president came to do the ground-breaking but what he saw was beyond foundation and we are determined to complete that project in a reasonable time next year. The facilities we have there, I am sure there is no stadium in the world that will beat it, so Akwa Ibom will deliver it to all of us.
Coach of the Eaglets Mr. Manu Garba who received the cheque on behalf of his boys said: "We have no words to thank His Excellency, but to pray for God almighty to take him to the highest pinnacle he prays to attain in life. On our part, this N10 million will go a long way to motivate this team to win its next match in Mali. Thanks so much for contributing in motivating Nigeria Golden Eaglets.