Vice President Kashim Shettima has said Nigerians witnessed a display of footballing magic and an unequivocal manifestation of the unyielding spirit of the Nigerian people in Sunday night epic final in the 2023 AFCON tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.
According to him, while the trophy may not be coming home to Nigeria, “our hearts remain filled with immense pride for the Super Eagles.”
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Stanley Nwocha, shortly after the game won by the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, the vice president said the Super Eagles fought valiantly, displayed incredible skill, and left everything on the pitch.
According to him, though the result wasn’t what players desired, their journey throughout the tournament has been nothing short of inspiring.
“Let us remember that victory and defeat are two sides of the same coin in the world of sports. Tonight, we acknowledge the triumph of Côte d’Ivoire and offer our gracious congratulations. Their success should not diminish the remarkable journey of our Super Eagles.
“This tournament has been a testament to the incredible talent and passion that exists across Africa. We witnessed breathtaking displays of skill, tactical brilliance, and moments of sportsmanship that transcended national borders. The spirit of camaraderie and unity that resonated throughout the competition is a true victory for the entire continent.
“Though we may feel disappointment tonight, let us not lose sight of the bigger picture. This tournament has served as a powerful platform to showcase the potential and resilience of Africa. It has reminded us of the importance of teamwork, dedication, and the unwavering spirit that defines our continent.
“Let us use this experience as a springboard for further growth. Let us learn from our setbacks, analyze our performance, and come back stronger for future challenges. The journey to sporting glory is rarely smooth, but it is through perseverance and continuous improvement that true champions are forged.
“To the people of Côte d’Ivoire, our gracious hosts: Thank you for your hospitality, your sportsmanship, and for creating a memorable AFCON experience. Tonight marks not just your victory, but the beautiful game that brings us together.
“Football is a unifying factor. It transcends race, region, or religion. But most importantly, it must be kept in mind that no matter which way the pendulum swings, Africa is the ultimate winner. The unity of Africa, our tolerance threshold and cohabitation is even more important than the victory itself,” President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, said.
“This tournament has showcased the brilliance, passion, and resilience of African football. We witnessed dazzling displays of skill, tactical battles fought with unwavering determination, and moments of sporting camaraderie that warmed the hearts of millions.
“From the electrifying atmosphere of the stadia to the joyous celebrations across the continent, Africa came together. We cheered for our teams, yes, but we also marveled at the artistry of our fellow players, shared in their successes and commiserated with their defeats.
“The success of this tournament belongs to every nation that participated. It belongs to the dedicated fans who roared with unyielding support. It belongs to the organizers who tirelessly ensured a smooth and spectacular event. And most importantly, it belongs to the players, from every corner of Africa, who poured their hearts and souls onto the pitch, showcasing the talent and potential that brims within our continent,” he added.
He further said Nigeria may not have lifted the trophy, but Africa truly emerged as the champion.
He said this tournament has served as a powerful reminder that our strength lies in our unity, saying “we are more than just individual nations; we are a vibrant tapestry woven together by shared history, culture, and dreams.
“Let this tournament be a catalyst for further collaboration and cooperation across the continent. Let us channel the passion and unity witnessed on the football pitch into tangible progress in all spheres of life. Let us work together to overcome the challenges that still hold us back, and build a brighter future for all Africans.
“Let us celebrate the power of unity, the beauty of diversity, and the boundless potential that lies within our continent.
“Once again, congratulations to the Super Eagles! Congratulations to Nigeria. Congratulations to Cote d’Ivoire, congratulations to Africa!”