Senate President David Mark has said his experience in South Africa during the Nations Cup final has shown that Nigeria has only few friend on the African Continent.
Mark led the Federal Government's delegation to South Africa to spur Super Eagles to victory in their encounter with Burkina Faso in the final match of the soccer competition.
Speaking at plenary yesterday during a debate on a motion by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and 107 others, on Nigeria's Outing at the AFCON 2013, Mark noted that very few people from other African countries wanted Nigeria to win the trophy.
"From my interaction with people from other African countries who went to watch the match, I observed that we don't have many friends in Africa. Only very few people, including those I interacted with in the State bus, supported us. They believed that Nigeria is great already, and they wanted Burkina Faso to win. I think this implies that as a nation, we should learn to be self-reliant", Mark said.
Mark, who called on football administrators to give Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi a free hand to manage the team, advocated early training of sportsmen, provision of sporting facilities at the local level and adequate funding for sports.
Following Mark's disclosure that Keshi had confirmed to him his decision to resign as coach of the national team, the Senate urged him (Keshi) to rescind such decision and went on to pass a vote of confidence in him, his technical team and other Nigerian coaches.
The Senate commended the Eagles for winning the trophy, observed a standing ovation in their honour and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for motivating the team.
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to reward the Eagles handsomely and confer on them befitting national honours.