By Solomon Nwoke, Monsur Olowoopejo
…Says victory calls for soul searching
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has said that Super Eagles victory in the recently concluded African Nations Cup in South Africa calls for soul searching as he splashed a total of N59 million on the team and the supporters club members.
Rewarding the victorious Eagles, the Lagos state governor announced a cash reward of N2.5 million for the Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, his immediate assistance, Daniel Amokachi; N2 million, while the 4 other assistance were rewarded with N1.5 million each.The captain of the team, Joseph Yobo got N1.5 million while other 22 players got N1 million each for their effort in the tournament. And the team got N500, 000 for each of the goals scored in the competition. The backroom staff were rewarded with N15 million just as the Nigerian Football Supporters Club were rewarded with N4.5 million.
The governor commended the team determination in the tournament and called for respects for the team coach to enable him perform his duties.
Governor Fashola decried the poor development of the game in the country as he called for inward search for the way forward.
“I have watched the lack of development in our football in pain and personal agony. So today is a day for soul searching among all footballers. This is a day we must talk to ourselves honestly; there is a victory, yes. But the question to ask is what next. We have Kenya in a few days”, he said.
He also cautioned that the team should not be carried away in the euphoria of their victory as the reigning African Champion, saying that now is the time to start even for the title defence, FIFA Confederation Cup coming up in June and the World Cup preparations.
He said, “l et us remind ourselves that the defending champion of the cup failed to make it past the first round. Now, the Confederation Cup will be coming up in few months time, it is an opportunity for the team to improve its ranking before the World Cup. And the advantage of this is that it will give the team the opportunity to be seeded and avoid strong opposition. Really, the work isn’t done yet. It is a building block from process to process.”
Alluding to the pressure put on Keshi by the football federation, he said,“There is need for us to moderate our expectation from our team. Let us respect those we have employed to do the job. It is time for everyone to support Keshi or whoever is appointed as the chief coach of the team always. All the criticism against the team must stop and allow all the experts employed to do their job.
“If we think that those we have employed cannot do the job, let’s set time line or change them. And I think that the practice where officials dash into the dressing room at half time while the coach is speaking with the players should stop. That is the team coach domain. The 15 minutes he has with his team must be judiciously used. And I think the NFF should stop this”, he said, as he thanked Guinness Nigeria PLC and the Rivers and Cross River states government for their support to the team.