Buhari rewards 1985 Golden Eaglets 31 years after

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja fulfilled his 31-year vow to the Golden Eaglets team to the 1985 FIFA U-17 World.

The Nduka Ugbade-captained team defeated West Germany 2-0 in the final – with the goals coming from Jonathan Akpoborie and Victor Igbinoba – to win the maiden edition of the competition in China while.

Incidentally, the feat was achieved with Buhari as military head of state.

He had to wait three decades to fulfil his promise because his military administration was sacked via a coup led by Gen Ibrahim Babangida.

Each member of the triumphant team received a cash reward of N2million with the officials taking home N1.5million each.

Speaking at the event held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Buhari expressed his delight to finally host athletes who distinguished themselves despite the harsh economic challenges.

He assured Nigerians that his government will do all it takes to ensure the country continues to set the pace in sporting events.

His words: “Nigerian athletes have defiled challenges and always demonstrated that the Nigerian spirit is indomitable.

“On behalf of all Nigerians, I wish to express my appreciation to our athletes and officials for their consistency, determination, willpower and commitment for success witnessed in recent times.

“I urge the managers of this sector to keep up with the momentum. I wish to assure the federal government will not relent in its efforts to ensure our sports men and women continue to excel in international competitions.

“I’m particularly concerned about our participation at the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympics Games. Our sour experience at the London 2012 Olympics where Nigerian athletes failed to make it to the podium.

“This administration wants a change in the way we do things. We must strive in the way we manage our time, financial and physical resources to ensure we success in the next Olympics. We must aim for optimal performance in all international competitions.

“I wish to remark that this day event is special to me because God granted me the privilege to fulfil my promise in 1985 to all the winners of the maiden edition of the FIFA U17 World Championship.

“The reasons for the 30 years delay is well known. It is sad to note that a member of the team (Awa Ubare) is not here today.

“In line with our belief that the labour of our heroes past should never be in vain, we want to say thank to our 1985 Golden Eaglets for the success.

“As we are all aware of the financial of our nation since we took over last, it is a token appreciation for your effort and appreciation while competing for Nigeria,” he said.

The ceremony however took a comic twist during the president’s announcement of cash rewards for the team.

Buhari mistakenly pronounced a reward of N200million for each member of the team – a move which triggered the audience into jubilant and joyous celebration.

Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, however moved to clear the error.

Apart from the 1985 Eaglets, members of the U17 national squad who won a record fifth title last year in Chile got N1.2million each.

Head coach of the team, Emmanuel Amunike, received N900,000 with his assistants getting N300,000 lesser.