The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has commended the group of fundraisers for the World Cup led by former Super Eagles captain, Austine Eguavoen for mobilising support for the Super Eagles.
He gave the commendation while unveiling ‘Russia 2018 fund raising dinner invitation cards and advertisement’ for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup in his office, yesterday.
“I wish to express my appreciation to these ex- Internationals for mobilizing support for the national team, the Super Eagles. I think this is the definition of patriotism. You have served this country and given your best to this country. Those who have played for the country have a network of relationships while playing across the globe that they can mobilize to help the team to succeed.”
Barrister Dalung appealed to sports administrators to engage ex-internationals as sources to exploit anytime the need arises.
“It’s only somebody who has been to a place that can tell the story of the place. Not all the players we have today have been to the World Cup. It’s only those that have played in the World Cup that can talk of the intrigues and politics involved. We can only get such experiences from the huge reserve of players we have produced in this country.
He called on the fundraising team to ensure that the invitation cards for the World Cup Dinner get to all Nigerians.
“Having qualified for the World Cup, the entire project of taking and supporting our players is a Nigerian project and we are handing it back to Nigerians to mobilize support so that they can join hands with government to ensure that our team does not just go to Russia to participate, but our appearance in Russia should make a bold statement about what Nigerian football is becoming.
“I appeal to you to give the ‘Dinner Cards’ to all Nigerians and not just to the rich. Give to the Road transport workers, market women, traders, civil servants and all lovers of football in the country.
Earlier, the leader of the team Austine Eguavoen recalled that some members of the fund raising team were the first Nigerian players to qualify for the World Cup and attracted support from many sponsors as well as the government back then, hence their resolve to give back to the society part of what they benefited.
“We were the first set of players to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Whenever we are called upon at any given time, because of what we have benefited, we don’t hesitate to be partners because to us, football is life.
“The 2018 World Cup is coming soon and Nigeria has qualified. The next thing to do is for us to pray and work hard for these players to surpass our record. We aspire for them to get to the semifinals. It is easier said than done but with the present technical crew and the boys who are so eager to achieve, and with us supporting them, they know that they have the entire country behind them.
“We call on all captains of industries, the private sector, Royal fathers and the entire Nigerians to help support this project which is supported by the Presidency and the Ministry, then we will see what happens at the World Cup,” Eguavoen said.
The fundraising dinner is billed for April 26, 2018 at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa. Members of the team comprising Former Super Eagles Coach Samson Siasia, former internationals Waidi Akanni and Daniel Amokachi are targeting N1.2b to support the Super Eagles to the World Cup in Russia.
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