President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday announced a cash donation of N2 million to each player of the 1985 U-17 male football team that won that year’s FIFA World Cup in China.
Buhari made the announcement at a Presidential Reception held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in honour of outstanding athletes that have made the country proud in recent international competitions.
The President also announced cash donations of N1.5 million each and N200,000 each to the coaches and official on the team.
Buhari said that the rewards were a token of the nation’s appreciation to its sports ambassadors.
“I have the honour, on behalf of the government and sports-loving Nigerians, to announce the following as token of our appreciation to our sports ambassadors.
“Beneficiaries: Wrestling: bronze medallist – N1.2 million; coach – N600,000.
“FIBA 2015 Male Afro-Basketball Champions, D’Tiger players/gold medallists – N600,000 each; coaches – N600,000 each; team officials – N250,000 each.
“2015 FIBA Africa U-16 female championship players/silver medallists – N400, 000; coaches – N400, 000 each; team officials – N150, 000 each.
“2015 IPC Asian Open International Powerlifting championship, gold medallists – N600, 000; silver medallists – N450,000; coaches – N450,000; team officials – N250,000 each.
“World English Language Scrabble Champion/beneficiary – N1.5 million; coach – N1.2 million; and team secretary – N450, 000.
“WBC Cruiser-weight title, beneficiary, winner – N1.5 million.
“2015 CAF Africa U-23 Cup of Nations champions/players/gold medallists – half a million naira each; head coach – half a million naira; assistant coaches – N300, 000; other team officials – N300,000.
“2015 FIFA U-17 Male football champions/players/gold medallists, N1.2 million, head coach N900,000, assistant coaches N600,000, team secretary – N300; medical team – N300,000; other officials – N200,000 each.’’
Fatai Atere, Nduka Ugbade, Jonathan Akpoborie, Baldwin Bazuaye, Victor Igbinoba and late Kingsley Aikiobare are some of the beneficiaries from the 1985 U-16 team, the Golden Eaglets.
In the course of his speech, Buhari called for a minute’s silence to be observed in honour of the late Kingsley Aikiobare and ordered that his cash award be given to members of his family.
Earlier, Dalung, while presenting the athletes and officials to the President, said he was grateful to Buhari for giving the sports sector the needed support that brought about the success being celebrated.
He said that the reception was aimed at building confidence among Nigerian athletes to encourage them to be winners.
Akpoborie, one of the 1985 U-16 team players, said that the reception was a welcome development as it would go a long way to making young players believe in the country.
He thanked Buhari and Dalung for the cash rewards and urged them “to keep up the good work’’. (NAN)