- Hosts CHAN, pledges support for Eagles
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday evening, at the new Banquet Hall,at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, received the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
He was handed the trophy by Christian Karembeu, a retired French International footballer, a representative of FIFA.
The President and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), took a break from the meeting which started at 11am, to attend to receive the FIFA delegation led by President, Coca Cola West Africa, Peter Njonjo.
He also received CHAN Super Eagles who got silver medal at the competition in Morocco in January.
Also received by the Nigeria’s President Bobsleigh are Winter Olympics Team. Buhari noted that football has a cult following in Nigeria which cuts across religion and ethnicities.
He assured that the Super Eagles will get the necessary support ahead of the completion which starts in June, in Russia. The President noted that football is a huge platform for empowering youths and commended Coca Cola for investing in football.
He urged other organizations to emulate Coca Cola in supporting football and other sports.
Buhari commended the CHAN Super Eagles and Nigeria’s Bobsleigh Winter Olympic Team, for making the nation proud.
The Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, said Nigeria was hosting the Cup because it was one of the countries that have qualified to participate in the competition. He expressed optimism that the Cup will return to the country in July, as the Super Eagles will win it. Dalung said, “We have worked very hard for it and we will continue to make Nigeria proud.”
He said the Super Eagles who took part in the CHAN competition in Morocco, advanced to the finals for the first time.
He also said Nigeria’s Bobsleigh Winter Olympic Team, hoisted Nigeria’s flag for the first time in the competition, even though they are based in the United States.
Dalung said, “Sports under your administration is moving. It’s been harvest of medals under your leadership. Sports is about funding and you have given support.” Njonjo said the tour will extend to 91 cities in 51 countries, courtesy of Coca Cola.
According to him, Nigeria will enjoy “the special consideration of hosting the Trophy for four whole days and in two cities – Lagos and Abuja.
This is, no doubt, a recognition of the country’s status as not just a nation of passionate football lovers, but historically high ranking football nation and home to some of the world’s famous and favourite football players.”
He said Nigerians from all works to see the authentic, one-of-a-kind FIFA World Cup Trophy and take a photo beside it.
“The event will certainly put Nigeria on the global spotlight. It will also heighten the patriotic fervor in millions of the Super Eagles’ fans in this national quest to bring home the FIFA World Cup Trophy this year.”
FIFA representative, Karembeu, in his remarks said, Nigeria has beautiful youth and a future to build sports.
He said as a a World Cup winner and he will like to see the Super Eagles believe in themselves and go far in the competition and bring happiness and joy to the Nigerian people.