The Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has again placed another $100,000 (about N16m) incentive on the line for the home-based Eagles to pocket if they grab the ticket to the final of the African Nations Championship.
Last Saturday, the $100,000 bonus offered the Eagles by the NSC appears to have played a major part in the biggest come-back in the history of the tournament reserved for players plying their skills in their domestic leagues when Nigeria upturned an initial 3-0 deficit to defeat Morocco 4-3 in extra time.
The minister said the team would get the money for the quarter final victory over Morocco before taking on Ghana who yesterday defeated DR Congo 1-0 to book Wednesday’s semi final clash with Nigeria
Yesterday, an elated Abdullahi while applauding the fighting spirit of the Eagles said the team showed passion, discipline and commitment, which are hallmarks of the Nigerian spirit.
“With the kind of overwhelming joy that followed the victory across our country, one cannot but feel that perhaps, these players are destined to win the trophy,” he noted.
Abdullahi stated the incentives are government’s way of motivating the players to give their best and triumph over their opponents.
He added that if the “boys qualify for the final and go ahead to win the trophy, they can be confident that a grateful nation will remember for a long time to come that they, with typical Nigerian grits and determination, have extended our dominance of African football.”
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has charged the Super Eagles to go all the way and bring home the CHAN trophy for the first time.
The Speaker said with the Eagles’ scintillating performances so far in the competition currently taking place in South Africa, the team has the capacity to go all the way in the tournament.
In a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal commended the team for booking a semi-final berth, adding that the dramatic manner in which they came back from three goals down to win 4-3 against Morocco last Saturday has proven that with determination and unity of purpose, a lot can be achieved.
According to him, Keshi has once again proven his mettle as a coach.
He however urged the players to redouble their efforts and block some loopholes apparent in their matches so far.
Keshi in his review of the match yesterday said the secret to the stunning fight-back was to pay less respect to their opponents after the sides came out for the second half.
“This was not us playing in the first half. It was like we gave too much respect to Morocco. They are a good team, but we have to be ourselves and we have to take our game to them.
“In the second half I wanted to see different character, I wanted to see the same character that we brought into the Bafana Bafana game (a 3-1 win in the group stage which knocked South Africa out), or more.
“So they came in and they said, we are not going home, we want to be here for the final, and that’s what happened.”
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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