From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday in video conference call, a gave a pep talk to the Super Eagles, ahead of their second round match against Tunisia tonight in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
Buhari who spoke from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, also spoke with Coach Augustine Eguavoen, Captain Ahmed Musa , President of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, and Nigerian Ambassador to Cameroon, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin (retd).
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari while mentioning two of the players, Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon, by name, urged the Super Eagles to continue making Nigerians happy, not only by winning the second round match, but to eventually lift the trophy.
He said: “You’ve been doing Nigeria proud. You’ve been winning. Please keep on winning. The Federal Government is supporting you, and I say thank you to all the technical crew and the players. Please keep doing the country proud.”
The President applauded the good work being done by the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, saying the country appreciates it.
Responding, Coach Eguavoen said; “We are so excited that His Excellency, President Buhari, has come to speak with us this morning. On behalf of the players and the technical crew, I want to say thank you very much sir.
“The group stage has passed, and your speaking to us is a morale booster. Thank you for your support, Mr President, we also thank the Hon. Minister, and the NFF President. We are so privileged, and want to promise that you should just relax, we’ll come out victorious. We won’t let the nation down.”
Nigeria’s Ambassador, Olonisakin said the over four million Nigerians living in Cameroon have been giving robust support to the Super Eagles since they arrived Garoua, Cameroon, on January 5, “and they will continue to do so.”
Ahmed Musa, on behalf of the players, appreciated President Buhari, noting that it is not easy to speak with the leader of a country, and they count themselves privileged.
“We will make Nigeria proud, now that we have the blessings of the father of the nation,” Musa said.
NFF President, Pinnick described the video conference as “a priceless privilege,” and thanked President Buhari and the nation at large for their prayers and support.
He said under the current dispensation, Nigeria has won the Under 17 football tournament twice, “and we want to win the Africa Cup of Nations too.”