The President of the Confederation of African Football, Dr. Issa Hayatou, on Monday visited the Golden Eaglets at their Intercontinental Dubai Festival City Hotel with a clarion call on the Nigerian youngsters to write their names in gold by winning the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, tagged UAE 2013.
Hayatou, who came along with two members of his executive committee, 1st Vice President, Alhamy Kabele Camara; and Algerian Mohammed Raouraoua; and former CAF Director of Communications, Suleiman Habuba, said he has been following the progress of the team since the CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco, where they came
second behind Cote d’Ivoire.
The Golden Eaglets are the only African team left in this competition and Hayatou said his courtesy visit was solidarity from the entire people of the continent, adding that the team is indeed on the threshold of history.
“Nigeria has won this trophy three times in the past but I want you to know that those victories were for Nigeria,” said Hayatou in French, which was translated by Bola Oyeyode, NFF’s Head of International Competitions. “It is now your turn to write your names in gold and I want you to know that CAF as well as everybody from Africa would be supporting you in order to achieve this victory.”
Hayatou said he was impressed with the performance and conduct of the Golden Eaglets, especially in last Saturday’s 2-0 win against Uruguay, which was the only quarter-final match he watched live.
“You have shown the capacity that you can do it and I have no doubt you would go all the way after seeing your last match against Uruguay, but we want you to forget about past achievements and focus on your next matches, starting with Tuesday’s match against Sweden,” Hayatou added.
Hayatou equally praised the Nigeria Football Federation’s President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, who, in a welcome address, said the team’s spirit has already been lifted with such a high-level delegation from the father of African football.
Coach Manu Garba said the Golden Eaglets, whom he described as “the great warriors of Africa”, would not let Africa down as the only team left in the competition from the continent, following the exit of Tunisia, Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire.
“We have come a long way in this assignment and by the grace of God, we are ready to do Africa proud but first, we have to beat Sweden on Tuesday,” Garba said.