Lagos – Nduka Ugbade, former captain of Nigeria’s U-16 national team that won the maiden edition of the FIFA Youth Championship, has lauded President Muhammudu Buhari for promising to reward the team 30 years after.
Ugbade told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday that the President’s promise was unexpected.
“It was quiet interesting when I heard that; I’m short of words honestly speaking.
“For the past days have not been able to sleep, constantly thinking about the situation how the President can remember after 30 years that we have not been honour and he decided to do this.
“It’s quiet unbelievable.
“Since then, I have been receiving calls from my team mates and this will greatly help most of the guys that played for the team, but are not doing well (at the moment).’’
With the victory of the Golden Eaglets at the U-17 World Cup in Chile, Nigeria has won the competition five times since 1985 when it began in China.
Buhari was Nigeria’s military head of state in 1985 and he named the victorious youth team “Golden” Eaglets.
The team was coached by Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen, with Christian Chukwu and the late Bala Shamaki as his assistants.
It will be recalled that in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari had assured the 1985 batch of Golden Eaglets that his administration would fulfil the promises made that time at a reception held at Dodan Barracks for the players.
The President said that it had been brought to his attention that a directive he gave to the state governments at the time 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 be honored in their home states,” the statement quoted Buhari as saying..
The statement noted that of the various promises made to the players at the time, only the Federal Government fulfilled its own commitment by sponsoring the players on a trip to watch the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
“The houses, scholarships and naming of streets after each player were supposed to have been catered for by the states.
“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,” Buhari was quoted as saying.