Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, urged the men’s football team, Super Eagles, to win the upcoming TotalEnergies CAF African Cup of Nations tournament, stating that the triumph of the Eagles would bring succour to the citizens.
The governor noted that the victory would help reinvigorate the people who have had to face economic crises, particularly the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
Sanwo-Olu also encouraged the players not to rest on their oars as it takes determination and team spirit to win competitions.
The governor gave the charge when he hosted the team to a special dinner at the Lagos House, Marina, before the team’s departure to Cote d’Ivoire for the AFCON tournament, which is slated to commence on Saturday, January 13.
He said, “You are our country’s unifier, as much as we will be putting pressure on you during the matches, Nigerians expect you to do that (unifying spirit) for us. We believe we have the men who can do it for us.
“People might say we don’t have a team, it’s another thing to believe in yourself and once you believe in yourself and as a team, we are on that track already, no matter the obstacles, no matter the fuel price facing the country, but just to go out there and demonstrate your undying spirit as Nigerians with a total of 220 million people in the country and the Diaspora are right behind you.
“And this is how you can write your names in gold forever. And I want to assure you that this number (220 million Nigerians) is behind you in support.
“We know you have a sense of patronage and patriotism, let that be your driving force. Let it encourage you that, for our country at the moment, we need this unifier. We need peace, we need sports as a healing tool for us, (Nigerians).”
Sanwo-Olu told the Eagles that Nigerians “need that cup to be a succour that would energise us and bring together all of the yearnings of this country. And I pray God gives you the strength to achieve this.”
He told the players to ensure they “don’t give up,” adding, “It could be that the first half is not what you want, to give up. It could get to 70 minutes, don’t give up.
“You could see 80 minutes, don’t give up. You have to have that belief that until the whistle blows, you still have an opportunity and that’s how life is.”
“Because when we want to say that we will do it again, it is not by mouth alone, it’s about that team’s spirit and commitment. Just know that over 222 million Nigerians are behind you,” the governor stated.
Also in attendance were the Minister of Sports, Senator John Enoh; Chairman, Nigeria Football Federation, Ibrahim Gusau, amongst others.
PUNCH Online reports that the Eagles lost 2-0 in a friendly game on Monday against Guinea in preparation for the 2023 AFCON.
The friendly match was played at the Bani Yas Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
This was after the Eagles had walloped Al Gharbia FC, a local team based in Dubai 12-0 in a training match in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.