President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Super Eagles of Nigeria to win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy.
President Buhari’s message was relayed to the team at a send forth organised for the players in Abuja on Tuesday night ahead of their departure to the 2021 AFCON holding in Cameroon.
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The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, in his address to the team, read by Prince Clem Agba, said the Super Eagles were being sent forth as Nigerian ambassadors and worthy representatives to Cameroon.
According to him, “Mr President believes this Super Eagles squad has the skills and talents to excel at the AFCON in Cameroon and over 200 million Nigerians are fully behind you.
“Three times we have been Champions of Africa by winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). That was in 1980, 1994 and 2013, and many other times we have ended as losing finalists and bronze medalists but this time around we want you to strike gold in Cameroon on the 6th of February, 2022 when the tournament’s final match will be played.
“We have followed your preparations for this tournament and have seen the challenges that you have faced with the late release from your clubs, the COVID-19 protocols, injuries and other factors.
“We urge you not to be deterred by these and rather see these obstacles as stepping stones to your success and glory.
“We are also appealing to you to demonstrate that Nigerian spirit of determination, focus, resilience, discipline and conquest on and off the pitch.”
Dare, on his part, urged the players to have self-belief and trust in the coaching crew led by Augustine Eguavoen.
“You have to believe in yourselves, be confident in your own abilities and show trust in your coaches and officials.
“As you carry the hopes and aspirations of millions of Nigerians, be assured of the support of the Federal Government.
“Be patriotic, defend the green and white of Nigeria, fight for her pride and honour like the true soldiers and warriors that you are and this nation will celebrate you further upon your return,” the Minister added.
In his own remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Alhaji Ismail Abubakar, thanked the Super Eagles for their patriotism and said the dinner was the Ministry’s ‘little’ effort at encouraging them to give their best and excelling at the biennial continental football showpiece.
The well-attended event held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba; the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Alhaji Ismail Abubakar; the Director of Federations and Elite Athletes Development (FEAD), Dr Simon Ebhojiaye; Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)’s 2nd Vice President, Alhaji Shehu Dikko; NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi and board members, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau and Yahaya Kwande were in attendance.
Also at the event were the Special Adviser to the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Femi Adeagbo and NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire.
Nigeria’s campaign in Cameroon begins on the 11th of January, 2022 against Egypt in Garoua.