The day after their exquisite and efficient performance against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa (conquerors of seven –time champions and host nation Egypt) that saw them reach the semi finals of AFCON 2019, the Super Eagles received pledges of more dollar rain from two of Africa’s richest businessmen.
On a visit to the team’s Le Meridien Cairo Airport hotel on Thursday morning, during which he urged the players to even redouble their efforts in order to cross the semi final stage on Sunday, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick put a call through to the two well -known philanthropists and tasked them to commit to supporting the team.
While Dangote made a pledge of $50,000 to the team for every goal in their remaining two matches at the championship, Otedola pledged the sum of $25,000 for every goal.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who holds Nigeria’s second highest national honour (GCON) is the President of Dangote Group and is ranked as the richest person of African descent in the world. The Dangote Group has interests in various commodities in Nigeria and other African countries.
Oil baron Femi Otedola has recently been involved in a number of commendable interventions for ailing former Nigerian international players, including 1980 AFCON winning team –captain Christian Chukwuemeka Chukwu and goalkeeper Peter Fregene.
Further words of encouragement came from His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) following Wednesday night’s victory, with the President urging “the team and their handlers to be focused, disciplined and scale the remaining two hurdles to glory.”
It would be recalled that following their Round of 16 defeat of Cup holders Cameroon in Alexandria on Saturday, businessman Captain Hosea Wells Okunbo pledged the sum of $20,000 for every player, while Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu came good with $5,000 for every player.
NFF’s Official Optimum Partner AITEO also weighed in with the sum of $75,000, being $25,000 for each of the three goals scored by the team against the Indomitable Lions.
Rohr urges focus, total commitment ahead semi final clash
Even before knowing the identity of their AFCON 2019 semi final opponent, Super Eagles’ technical adviser Gernot Rohr on Thursday morning charged his wards to be focused and fully committed to the task at hand as they countenance another tough session on Sunday night at the Cairo International Stadium.
“The next match in a championship is always the toughest, so it is always important to approach it that way. That is why we must now forget what we achieved against South Africa in our quarter final match and start to build up towards the semi final.
“There is no time to rest on our oars. We must make all the sacrifices we can now to achieve our objectives at this tournament. We must stay focused and be fully committed.”
The three –time champions were back at the Aerosport pitch inside the Cairo Airport on Thursday morning to begin training for Sunday’s encounter, which would be against the winner of the Algeria/Cote d’Ivoire fixture.
Also on Thursday morning, the management of the Le Meridien Cairo Airport hotel presented a big cake to the Super Eagles for the 2-1 win over South Africa on Wednesday that has taken Nigeria into the last four of Africa’s biggest and most prestigious football championship.
The hotel manager, Atef Wilson, on behalf of the management presented the cake to Coach Gernot Rohr and forward Odion Ighalo, who received on behalf of the team.
Victory over South Africa took Franco –German Gernot Rohr’s record with Nigeria to 20 wins in 34 matches, of which he has drawn five and lost nine.