Former U16 World Cup-winning captain and U17 assistant coach Nduka Ugbade has described the reception the tournament winners received back home in Nigeria.
Asked during an interview with Vanguard Sports about the reception at the Murtala Mohammed Internation Airport for the victorious Nigerians, he responded saying:
“The reception was second to none. I doubt if there is going to be anything near that in the near future. I am only waiting for that maybe when Nigeria wins two trophies. Not the AFCON or U17 World Cup may be the biggest one, the senior World Cup that I expect to see such crowd and such followership from the airport to Broad Street, where we were received.
And most probably, and I pray to be part of it because I want to lead a team that will win the U20 World Cup or the World Cup. That is what we are looking for and I believe, one day we are going to achieve it. I believe also that the senior World Cup will not remain elusive to Nigeria as we are churning out junior players. So the reception was tumultuous as thousands upon thousands turned up at the airport.
The former MFM FC manager added: “I cannot put numbers because if I try to, I won’t be doing justice to those that were following us. It was unbelievable. Both old and young, the elderly and even toddlers were out there to cheer us. I could remember one small girl, maybe she was 13 or thereabout who followed us, wearing a green school uniform with rubber shoes, from the airport to Broad Street, how she did it I never knew.
She was just jogging beside the open truck that was carrying us. During the reception at Broad Street they were pouring drinks on us and our of the crowd I could spot this little girl in green school uniform sweating and I couldn’t believe it. I hope one day, I don’t know how it is going to happen, one day in life, I will see this little girl (who should be a mother today) again and she would come to me and say I was that little girl you saw that day. I don’t know how it will happen. But that is my prayer.”