Wednesday 11 November 2015

President Buhari To Reward ’85 Eaglets 30 Years After They Won The Maiden Edition Of FIFA Under-17 World Cup In China

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday assured the Golden Eaglets team that won the maiden FIFA Under-17 World Cup in China in 1985 that his administration would fulfil the promises he made to them 30 years ago.

Buhari, who was Head of State, had promised the team houses and scholarships during a reception in honour of the players at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, in celebration of the victory.

Nduka Ugbade, who was the captain of the team, was the only player in the China ’85 FIFA Under-17 World Cup squad that progressed to win a major title for Nigeria at the senior level. The former Spain-based defender won the Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations. He assisted Manu Garba to guide the Golden Eaglets to the UAE 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup triumph.

Baldwin Bazuaye and Jonathan Akpoborie also graduated to the Super Eagles. Bazuaye was in the squad that won silver at the Algiers ’90 Africa Cup of Nations. Akpoborie won bronze at the Senegal ’92 Africa Cup of Nations.

But the likes of Hilary Adiki, Fatai Atere, Binebi Numan, Joseph Babtunde, Salisu Nakande, Victor Igbinoba, Tonworinmi Duere, Lucky Agbonsevbafe, Bella Momoh, Chukwuma Nwoha, Sani Adamu and Dele Abubakar failed to progress in their careers. Defender Kingsley Aikhionbare died in the United Kingdom.

Sebastine Brodericks-Imasuen was the head coach while Christian Chukwu was his assistant.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu said in a statement on Tuesday that the President was not happy that his directive to state governments to reward the Eaglets in 1985 was not complied with.

“It is a pity that those promises were never fulfilled. It is unfortunate that our players, who did us proud on the world stage, went unrewarded for their efforts, despite a presidential directive to the state administrators that they should be honoured in their home states,” the statement quoted Buhari as saying.

The statement said the Federal Government fulfilled its own commitment by sponsoring the players to Mexico to watch the 1986 World Cup.

He added that the promises of houses and scholarships and naming of streets after each player were supposed to have been taken care of by the states.

The statement noted that shortly after the promises were made, Buhari was overthrown and that despite repeated pleas made to succeeding governments by the players and their officials, some of the promises were not fulfilled.

“I apologise for whatever embarrassment and disillusionment in your country these raised and then dashed hopes may have caused you. My government will do all within its power to remedy the situation,” the statement quoted the President as saying.

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