U17 World Cup: Buhari promised us N20m but redeemed N2m – Ugbade

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OrijoReporter.com, Nduka Ugbade

Nduka Ugbade, captain of the victorious Golden Eaglet that first won the Under-17 World Cup, then Kodak Cup, has told of how members of the team were let down by the federal government.

The team coached by Sebastian Brodrick won the maiden edition of the tournament in 1985 during the time the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari was the military Head of States.

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Buhari in January 2016 while rewarding the country’s Under 17 squad who had just won the 2015 edition with cash extended same to the 18985 team.

Ugbade, who captained the team said the President announced N20m each but it turned out that they were given N2m by the then Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung in an interview he granted Vanguard.

He told the paper:  “Then my saddest moment was when we came back and there was a military coup that removed the government of General Mohammadu Buhari and Brigadier-General Tunde Idiagbon who was his second-in-command. We were sad that most of the promises made to us were not fulfilled.”

Continued: “The second joy I had again (though it is not yet complete), I will never forget, was after 32 years, he (President Buhari) still remembered to call everyone of us, wherever we were, the President called us back home to fulfil his promise. His Excellency, President Buhari came to the podium and announced N20 million for each of us, knowing that 35 years was a long time.

“School fees that were supposed to have been paid, some of those guys would have been degree holders today, minimum Bsc or even doctorate degrees, but today they are not. To our greatest surprise, the moment the president announced it, we knew we were worth that much. With N20m, we would be able to build a bungalow or two at about N5m each in our various states and we would live well. We were also expecting national awards, at least MON, because a group got MON after winning the U17 tournament. How come that the winners of the inaugural edition, a victory that has given us recognition anywhere I go all over the world, but not at home? Immediately we finished, the then minister, Solomon Dalung now stepped on the podium and said that the President made a mistake, a slip of tongue. That the amount was N2m. Two million Naira for 32 years? Fatai Atere used about $6,000 to buy a flight ticket to come for the event, as it was a sudden invitation.”

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