Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State on Tuesday urged the Nigerian Under-17 national team, the Golden Eaglets, currently in Chile defending the title they won two years ago, not to be carried away by their 3-0 victory over their Brazilian counterpart at the quarter final stage of the competition.
Ahmed said what the team required now was for the players to psyche themselves up for the successful defence of the trophy.
Ahmed, in a statement issued in Ilorin by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, said as youths, the Under-17 side might be having an erroneous belief that having edged out the Brazilians, the much coveted diadem was already theirs.
Instead, the Governor advised the team, especially the technical crew headed by ex-international, Emmanuel Amunike, to fight like trojans till the very end of the tournament, adding: “There is no praise for those who will not win the ultimate prize.
“You have done well so far in the tournament but remember that some of your predecessors had done more than you did at present. You should equal their records before you can equate yourselves with them. All you need to do is to fine tune strategies that will enable you subdue the remaining two opponents standing between you and the ultimate prize.
“Brazilians were good before you bundled them out in a dramatic fashion. But having ‘slain’ the giants from South America, we should not forget that the remaining teams could be bigger ‘giants’ if we handle them with lackadaisical approaches.”
The Governor, while describing Nigeria as having a rich football culture, canvassed the establishment of more football academies “after the pattern of Kwara State Football Academy” so that the nation could soonest become a great exporter of football nation.
For him, placing more premiums on sports in Nigeria could be another veritable means of not only engaging the youths but could equally serve as a means of diversifying the economy of Nigeria.
Ahmed noted: “Already our own academy is waxing stronger by the day and some of our players are yielding us foreign gains, just as we had invested much in their academics endeavours. Nigeria can derive much gains from productively engaging its youths.”