Head Coach of the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup winning Golden Eaglets set, Manu Garba has called on the Cross River State Government to fulfill its pledge to the team.
Manu Garba led a talented squad that included the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi to U-17 World Cup glory.
On their return, a delighted then Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke promised each member of the team a house gift but ten-years after, that pledge has not been fulfilled.
Imoke left office as Cross River State Governor in 2015 and as confirmed by Manu Garba who holds double national honours MFR/OON, efforts to get the pledge fulfilled by his immediate successor Senator Ben Ayade, did not yield any fruit.
With a new government and a Nigeria Sports Development Minister Senator John Owan Enoh who hails from Cross River State, Garba has resurrected call for the promise to be fulfilled.
“Of course, we were all excited when Senator Liyel Imoke made the pronouncement at the Government House in Calabar when he hosted us for winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013, but this is 2023, and ten years after the pledge, we are yet to be given the houses as promised,” Garba said.
“The FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning team of 2013 was the baby of the Cross River State because we were camped at the Princeville Hotel in Calabar for many months, and we played all our qualifying matches there. Unfortunately, we are yet to be given these houses despite efforts to have the pledge redeemed during the tenure of Professor Ayade.”
The renowned Youths Coach added: “We are pleading with the new Governor, His Excellency, Bassey Otu to use his good office to fulfill this pledge made on behalf of the state government by Senator Imoke, and I’m also seeking the intervention of the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, who coincidentally comes from Cross River State, to ensure that justice is done on our behalf.
“We have waited so long. This year, we lost the hard-working equipment manager of the team, Muhammed Kafa, and it would be in his good memory and show that our labour of winning the World Cup in 2013, was not in vain if we get these houses,” Garba appealed .