Nigeria’s Pillar of Sports, Chief Donatus Agu-Ejidike JP, has commended the Super Eagles of Nigeria, despite losing 1-2, to the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the final match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023, played at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, on Sunday.
The Pillar of Sports gave the commendation in press statement, signed by the Chairman, Office of the Nigeria Pillar of Sports (ONPS), Prince Ajide Olayioye, and made available to newsmen on Monday.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria lost the final match to the host 2-1, in the keenly contested match. This year’s edition of the competition had been various adjudged by soccer aficionados, as the best in recent years, in terms of officiating, competitiveness, and organisation.
The Anambra-born Sports philanthropist who lamented the inability of the Nigerians to overcome their hosts, praised them nevertheless, for what he describes as an all-round gritty and tactical performance from the Nigerian lads, saying very few people gave the team a pre-tournament chance of making it beyond the second round. But defying all negative prediction, the team went all the way to the final, undefeated, until the final match.
In the same vein, Chief Ejidike who is the Patron of “The Nigerian Football Supporters Club” (NFSC) has also redeemed his pledge of giving the team a sum of ₦1million for every single goal scored in the final match against the Ivoriens.
The Nnewi-born former president of the Karate Federation of Nigeria (KFN), it would be recalled, made the promise as his own way of motivating the team, immediately the booked the final ticket following their semi final victory over the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, on Wednesday last week.
But unfortunately, the team could not score more than one goal, courtesy of William Troost-Ekong header in the first half. On Monday, the money was wired to the team’s captain Ahmed Musa who acknowledged receipt, and also thanked the Pillar of sports on behalf of the entire Super Eagles team.
Ejidike therefore enjoined the boys not to be discouraged by the outcome of the final match against Cote d’Ivoire, urging for focus ahead of the remaining world Cup qualifying matches to ensure that the team does not miss out on the train to the next World Cup, billed to be hosted by the trio of Canada, Mexico and USA, come 2026.