By JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan has charged the Super Eagles to go ahead and win all the remaining matches and bring home the Nations Cup, promising that something great was in store for them if they do just that. In a call he put across to the Eagles in South Africa, President Jonathan said that Nigerians were behind the team, even as they expect them to make Nigerians proud by beating the Eagles of Mali in the semi-final match today.
Jonathan, who first spoke to Coach Stephen Keshia and Daniel Amokachi before speaking individually to each member of the team and their officials, said the government would make them ‘proud young men’ if they bring the cup home. He sought to find out the spirit in the Eagles’ camp, to which Keshi assured him that “the spirit of the boys is high”, adding that the call from Mr. President would help ginger the boys’ spirit. The President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari, who also spoke during the chat with Jonathan, promised on behalf of the team to bring the cup back to Nigeria so that the “smile of Mr. President would be broader”.
President Jonathan assures the team: “On behalf of this country, I want to tell you that Nigerians are very happy with your performance. We are looking up to you. “Just last night, we kicked off our centenary celebration. We believe that you will bring the cup to your fatherland this year. We are very hopeful, we are all proud of you. We are all happy with what you have done and we want you to do more.” The president told the players that they should do their best as “Nigerians are proud of you. We expect that you will bring the cup this year. The country promises you the best,” he said.
The captain of the team, Joseph Yobo, assured the president that the team would do its best to bring home the cup. “We appreciate you and by the grace of God, we will bring the cup to you,” he said. The Director General of National Sports Commission, Patrick Ekeji, speaking with State House correspondents later, said that the team was happy with the president’s call. “I can assure you that the boys are charged. The watershed of this competition was the match against Ivory Coast. No body can stop our team anymore. Our boys now want the cup. I will call for drinks (today) because the boys will maul Mali,” he said.