There were contrasting feelings among members of the Golden Eaglets players that won the 1985 U-16 FIFA/JVC World Cup over the cash reward given to them by President Muhammadu Buhari during last Thursday’s hosting of top athletes at the state house in Abuja.
The team was the first national football team to win a major international competition as Nigeria defeated Germany 2 – 0 at the Workers’ Stadium, to win the maiden tournament in China PR thanks to Jonathan Akpoborie and Victor Igbinoba 4th and 79th minute goals.
The President had promised to host the victorious team during his first tenure as a military head of state but was overthrown and that promise never came to pass.
30 years after, President Buhari decided to deem it fit as he hosted and honored some of the golden generation with a cash reward of N2million, about 10,047 dollars to each player at the state house in Abuja.
However, some of the players who were present at the event had contrasting reactions to the money being given to them by the number one citizen of Nigeria as they expected more from him.
According to one member of the team, Fatai Atere, he said he’s disappointed with the N2million cash reward even though he was happy to meet with his team mates.
“I won’t say I am not happy with the N2million cash reward that Mr. President gave us, but then, I expected a lot from him which didn’t happen. If I had known that this was what will be given to us for our effort maybe I would have stayed back in the U.S. The good thing about my coming to Nigeria to honor this event was the fact that I am glad to have met some of my team mates” Atere said.
“Besides, during his address, Mr. President made mention of rewarding the players with N200million; maybe it was a slip of tongue or the actual money in his mind to give us, however, I am so disappointed with this cash reward” Atere continued.
In contrast, Jonathan Akpoborie, lauded the cash reward of the head of state and believed it will go a long way for them.
“It is not so much about the reward of N2million, but the fact that after so long we were accorded honor. We should encourage young players home and abroad who are eligible to play for the country”Akpoborie noted. “When you show appreciation for what sports men and women do, it encourages and inspires others” he added.