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Labaran Wasanni

Laloko hails Buhari for athletes’ reward

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President Buhari hosted the athletes that include footballers, wrestlers and weightlifters and their coaches at the Aso Rock Villa last week Thursday and rewarded them with varying ranges of cash prizes, saying it was a token appreciation while charging them to lift Nigeria higher in their endeavours.
“I think President Buhari has played the role of a mature leader who kept his promise,” Laloko told National Mirror over the weekend in apparent reference to the president’s N2million gift to members of the national U-16 team that won the maiden FIFA U-16 World Cup staged in China in 1985.
“He made the promise to the conquering Eaglets at the time but could not fulfill it as his military government was topped soon after,” Laloko recalled.
“Several governments after had failed to look into the promise until now and it is just as well that the same Buhari who made the promise has come to fulfill it,” the Director, Pepsi Football Academy added.
“It is also interesting that the cash award of N2million came at a time many members of the winning team at China ’85 would appreciate it more, considering the current economic realities in the country,” Laloko stressed.
On the worth placed on the cash awards to other categories of athletes which fell short of the 1985 Eaglets’ as analysts argued that the awardees, particularly the Golden Eaglets who recently won the cadet FIFA World Cup in Chile, Laloko said: “I think we miss the point when we place premium on cash rewards. Representing the country and getting duly recognised by the number one citizen should be the utmost desire of all athletes.
I am glad that President Buhari’s latest gesture has demonstrated the new thinking in that direction.”

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