President Goodluck Jonathan is at the top of the list of prominent Nigerians who on Friday hailed the Golden Eaglets for emerging victorious in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Others who sent out early congratulatory messages to the Golden Eaglets included the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; and a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu.
The Golden Eaglets defeated Mexico 3-0 in the final of the U-17 World Cup on Friday.
With the victory, they become the first team to win the World Cup a record four times.
A statement by Dr. Reuben Abati said the President would be hosting the Golden Eaglets on Sunday.
The statement reads: “On behalf of himself, the Federal Government and all Nigerians, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan congratulates the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria on their 3-0 triumph over Mexico in the final match of the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Soccer Championship played Friday evening in Abu Dhabi.
“President Jonathan joins other very proud and happy Nigerians in saluting the glorious achievement of the Eaglets in winning the Under-17 Soccer Championship for an unprecedented fourth time.
“The President commends the young Eaglets for the exemplary commitment, dedication, resilience, determination, patriotism and unity of purpose they displayed through-out the tournament to make Nigeria the World’s Under-17 Football Champion once again.
“In fulfillment of his promise of a heroes’ welcome for the triumphant Golden Eaglets on their return home, President Jonathan will host a grand reception for the team at the Banquet Hall of the State House at 1900 Hours on Sunday, November 10, 2013 in appreciation of the great honour and glory they have brought to their fatherland.
“The President also urges the leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation to strive to ensure that the world-conquering Eaglets, who have shown such immense potentials as youngsters, are properly nurtured, trained and developed to represent the nation at higher levels in future international football competitions.
“He wishes the Golden Eaglets and their handlers a safe journey home and looks forward to receiving them in Abuja on Sunday.
Uduaghan congratulated the team for winning the U-17 football title for a record fourth time.
In a reaction to the Eaglets 3-0 win over their Mexican counterparts, Governor Uduaghan, through his Press Secretary, Felix Ofou, said the victory was a reflection of the resilience in the Nigerian spirit.
“Despite our challenges, diversity and divisions, the Golden Eaglets have shown that we are a united people and that our greatness will become manifest as we join hands in spite of all odds to build a great Nation,” he said.
In a statement signed by Peter Okhiria, his Chief Press Secretary, Comrade Oshiomhole said: “I heartily congratulate the Eaglets for doing Nigerians proud in far-away United Arab Emirates. The Eaglets displayed the can-do spirit of the Nigerian; the will to excel even in the face of excruciating challenges.
“The Boys represent a new generation of Nigerians whose faith in the country remain unwavering as they forged a formidable team to win the coveted trophy despite coming from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“I urge the authorities of the Nigerian Football Federation to keep this talented team together as the boys have the potential of even bringing greater honour to the country.
“The government and good people of Edo State give kudos to the Golden Eaglets for this great feat.”
Kalu, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Oyewumi, said the Eaglets have made Nigeria proud by winning the title and becoming the first team to do so four times.
Oyewumi quoted Kalu as saying: “In the midst of so much gloom in the country, it is heartwarming that the boys and their Coach, Manu Garba, did not lose focus but concentrated on the task before them to make the country proud.
“The victory is even sweeter when considered against the backdrop that the boys are certified to be truly under-17 and can conveniently graduate into the senior teams in the years ahead.
“Now, we are serious about rejuvenating our age grade football.”
Kalu urged the Nigeria Football Federation to ensure it keeps the team together and groom the boys into senior teams over time.