Dare hosts victorious Golden Eaglets, praises NFF
The Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, yesterday hosted players and officials of the national U-17 boys, Golden Eaglets to a reception in Abuja following their recent victory at the WAFU B U-17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana.
The five-time world champions had defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 in the finals of the cadet championship last Friday to return home with a giant trophy and a ticket to the 2023 U-17 AFCON in Algeria.
In his speech, Dare lauded the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for making merit and competence its watchwords in selection of coaches for the age-grade National Teams as agreed with the Ministry.
“I want to give credit to the NFF for implementing the cardinal principles that we agreed at meetings on youth football development. Now, we can see that the emphasis on merit and competence has started to bear fruits.
“The U17 and U20 girls have qualified for their FIFA World Cup competitions with aplomb and the U17 and U20 boys have won regional tournaments in emphatic manner, with promises of what we can look forward to at their African championships next year.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar warned the players against allowing distractions from all manner of agents and player-managers, and rather be dedicated to improving their craft with temperance, endurance and a level head.
The NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, introduced each player and team official for special handshake with the Honourable Minister, stating that Head Coach Nduka Ugbade was the captain of the first Nigeria team to win the FIFA Cadet World Cup, and was also assistant coach to Manu Garba when Nigeria triumphed in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.
Meanwhile, Ugbade hailed the event as “a special occasion” and said the team is encouraged to do its utmost to continue to bring honour to the nation, first by putting up a stellar outing at the U17 AFCON in Algeria and then going on to hold its own at the FIFA World Cup finals in Peru.