Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday announced various forms of cash reward to members of the national under-17 male football team and Nigeria’s medalists at the maiden African U-18 Athletics Championships.
Jonathan announced the cash reward at a special reception in honour of the Golden Eaglets and the athletes at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Another Nigerian, Davidson Emenogu, the current World Boxing Organisation’s International Champion, was also honoured at the event.
Jonathan announced a cash reward of N500,000 each for players and officials of the football team known as the Golden Eaglets.
The team’s chief coach however got N1 million, while the team’s curator got N300,000.
The President also announced cash rewards of N500,000 each for the gold medalists at the African championships, while the silver medalists got N400,000 each.
The bronze medalists were rewarded with N300,000 each, while the team officials were rewarded with N500,000 each.
NAN recalls that the Golden Eaglets came second at the 10th CAF U-17 Championship held in Morocco between April 13 and April 17.
The performance also earned the team qualification for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup scheduled for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in October.
The performance by the Nigerian athletes at the under-18 championships also helped the country to top the medals table with 18 gold, 9 silver and 17 bronze medals at the championships.
The championships which was held in Warri, Delta had witnessed the participation of athletes from 33 countries.
Jonathan, while reflecting on the performances of the players and athletes, urged the two teams not to relent in their roles as models.
“You should continue to inspire young people to bring success and victory tothe country,’’ he said.
The President specifically charged the Golden Eaglets not to relent but to see their qualification to the World Cup as a golden opportunity to shine on the world stage.
Jonathan noted that 2013 was already turning out to be an eventful year for Nigerian sports.
“Early in the year, we celebrated the gallant exploits of our Super Eagleswho won the Africa Cup of Nations trophy.
“Today, we are celebrating all of you our young men with talents and I commend you all for sustaining the trend.
“We are taking concrete steps to consolidate and transform our sports sector and we are glad about the positive results,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, had said the two years of Jonathan’s administration had been eventful in sports with the Super Eagles’ continental triumph after a 19-year wait.
Abdullahi also pointed out that it was the first time since 2007 that the national under-17 male football team would be qualifying for the World Cup.
He said Nigeria had in the last two years won six gold, five silver and one bronze medals through the 2012 London Paralympic Games in 2012.
“That was Nigeria’s second best performance ever at that level,’’ the minister said.
He added that Nigeria also won the African Senior Athletics Championships in Porto-Novo, Benin Republic after 14 years.
“The landmark achievement is a befitting reward for Jonathan’s commitment to sports development,’’ Abdullahi said.