13 February 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan Showers N150 Million, Abuja Lands, Honours On Eagles

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday lavished a cash gift of over N150 million to the Super Eagles as federal government's token for their outstanding performance in the just concluded 2013 Africa Cup of Nations where they emerged champions last Sunday, 19 years after its last victory at the tournament.

The president also announced that each of the players and coaches were to get one plot of land each in Abuja, just as he also conferred national honours on the national team members, the coaches and the technical crew members.

Jonathan made the announcement while speaking at a well-attended dinner reception held in honour of the Super Eagles at the Banquet Hall of the presidential villa, Abuja, yesterday night.

From the breakdown given by the president, Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi, got N10 million while his two assistants - Daniel Amokachi and Ike Shorumu - and each player got N5 million. Other technical crew members got N2 million each.

In the order of the national honours award, Coach Keshi was conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) award, the two assistant coaches were honoured with the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) award, while the players and others were conferred with the Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) awards.

The president also applauded the cash gifts lavished on members of the team by individuals, including business moguls, Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga, noting that more individual cash or kind gifts were still being expected.

He mentioned about five persons who donated $500,000 to the team, saying members of the team knew how to share it.

President Jonathan went on to describe the Eagles performance as an awesome achievement which deserved praises, saying the team had put golden smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

Noting that the Eagles proved that Nigeria was a gold mine, Jonathan said, while for 19 years NIgeria had not won the trophy, the general impression was that the country's football had derailed.

He praised the team for overcoming the scepticism of those who doubted their ability, and marched on with determination through the qualifiers till they claimed the ultimate prize.

Noting that penultimate Monday, he was at the same venue with his predecessors, former Heads of State and presidents to flag off the country's centenary celebration, marking one hundred years of

Nigeria's existence, Jonathan said the golden trophy won by the Eagles was a major gift for the centenary celebration.

Sports Minister Bolaji expressed delight that they arrived in the country with the team to the warm embrace and massive embrace of Nigerians, stressing that this, indeed, was a breath of fresh air.

"We have waited 19 years to win this trophy and we can afford to wait this longer again", he stated, recalling also that Jonathan had enjoined them when they were set for the competition to ensure that their performance should reflect and demonstrate that Nigeria is the giant of Africa," he said.

The Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Yobo handed the golden trophy to the NFF president, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, who handed the cup to sports minister for formal presentation to the president.

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