Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Flying Eagles get heroic welcome

Africa newest champions, Flying Eagles were received in Lagos on Monday by appreciative Nigerians who trooped out enmasse to receive their heroes.

The nation’s ambassadors defeated perennial arch-rivals, the Junior Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-2 in the final of the 17th Orange Africa Youth Championship in South Africa on Sunday. The entourage led by the president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday afternoon and was received by the first vice president of the NFF, Chief Mike Umeh, the NFF technical committee chairman, Barrister Chris Green, Sports Ministry/National Sports Commission dignitaries as well as top shots of Lagos state sports ministry.

And in a far departure from the ramshackle motorcade ride given to Super Falcons on their arrival from South Africa after winning the 2010 African Women Championship, Flying Eagles were driven in a state-of-the-art air-conditioned Busscar double deck open roof bus from the international airport to the presidential wing of the local airport where they were received by the Sports Minister and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Prof Taoheed Adedoja among other dignitaries. The leader of delegation, NFF president, Alhaji Maigari presented the trophy won by Flying Eagles to the minister.

An excited Adedoja who praised the team for their heroic performance at the biennial football showpiece told the equally appreciative ambassadors that the number one citizen, President Goodluck Jonathan, at the moment observing a retreat at the Obudu Cattle Ranch, Obudu, Cross River state will officially receive them immediately they arrived from their four-nation invitational in South Korea.

“I have been asked specifically by Mr President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to welcome you back to Nigeria. It is rare of a president of a country to have a team welcomed at the airport; this is the first time president of a country is doing it.

“He also told me to congratulate you and to say that when you return from Korea he will give you a befitting reception. Like I said this cup is being named ‘Nigeria Goodluck cup’.

“All the promises made to you by the chairman, your coach will be fulfilled 100%. You have done Nigeria proud, you have done Mr President proud, you have done all of us proud and you will get the best football development under Mr President.”

The minister further charged the Under-20 African champions to work hard to replicate the feat in the AYC at the world stage in Columbia.

“You have ruled Africa in football, I ask you to also rule the world, and with your performance Nigeria football will continue to move up,” the number sports citizen told

Responding, the golden coach John Obuh thanked the minister and promised to work harder to ensure that the team excels at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Columbia which starts later in July.

“We thanked Nigerians for the show of love given to us, we promise not to let them down, we know their expectations from us, we will work hard to meet it. We appreciate Mr President warm wishes, we will not disappoint him,” he said.

After the reception at the presidential wing of the local airport, the motorcade moved through Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja to the Westown Hotel, Ikeja where they team was given a sumptuous dinner and rested for the night before travelling out to Korea later on Tuesday for the four-nation invitational tournament. 
SOURCE: African Soccer
PIX: Flying Eagles rejoice on their arrival at Murtala Muhammed Airport

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