President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday night conferred members of the victorious Super Eagles national Honours for their feat in winning the African Cup of Nations, nineteen years after Nigeria attained that feat.
This was in addition to cash donations of ten million naira for the Head Coach, Stephen Keshi and five million naira each, to the assistant coaches and the twenty three players that took part in the championship.
In a well attended ceremony at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, the President also announced that each member of the team and the technical crew would be allocated a plot of land in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Announcing the national honors, President Jonathan conferred Coach Stephen Keshi with the honour of Commander of the order of Niger (CON) while the assistant coaches and captain of the team, Joseph Yobo were conferred with Officer of the Order of Niger (OON). Other members of the team were conferred with Members of the Order of Niger, (MON).
The President who announced cash donations from other Nigerians including $1million from Mike Adenuga (Jnr) to the players and $200,000 to Stephen Keshi while Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote donated five million naira to each of the players.
Other cash donations announced by President Jonathan include $500,000 each from Emeka Ofor, Jim Ovia and Tony Elumelu.
President Jonathan told members of the team that their victory in South Africa has, “put a spring in our steps, golden smiles on our lips and has indicated that Nigeria is a land of opportunities.
“Not many people believe you could win. Inspite of the skepticism, there was no despair.
“Your victory is a good indication that there is victory for us as we work hard to transform Nigeria. We will continue to give sports its pride of place. The major lesson of your victory is that no matter the number of people who doubt you, never doubt yourself”.
For coach Stephen Keshi the president told him ” you have my full support” adding that the “qualification of the team for the 2014 world cup in Brasil is your next agenda and you must not fail”.
The president emphasised that the feat achieved by the team was an indication that “we must not let our differences define us” noting that whether it was “moses or Musa, Chistopher of Mustapha” that scored, it did not matter to Nigerians.
In his speech, the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi said the victory of the Super eagles “is another moment of national rebirth. It is a breath of fresh air.
As we celebrate, we are not unmindful of the responsibilities this bestow on us. We waited for nineteen years. We cannot wait for that long again.
“We have won it and I congratulate the president. Winning this trophy is not destination. The sporting arena is complex. We should put all the years of rancour and acrimony behind us and stop creating problems where non exist. The victory has shown that with determination and unity of purpose, we can achieve” he said.