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Golden Eaglets coach appeals for fulfillment of 2013 U-17 World Cup pledges

Coach of Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets, Manu Garba has once again called on the government of Cross River State to honour the promise of houses made to the players and officials of the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning team in the United Arab Emirates (UAE.

Garba expressed deep regret that this unfulfilled promise remains a painful issue for the team members, especially for the late equipment manager, Muhammed Kafa, who passed away nearly a year ago without receiving the promised house from the Cross River State government, led at the time by former governor Liyel Imoke.

“When I remember Muhammed Kafa, one of the things that come to mind was his desire to get the house pledged to all the 10 officials and 21 players that won the World Cup in 2013 by the then Governor Senator Liyel Imoke,” Garba said. He noted the disappointment that the promise has remained unredeemed 11 years after it was made and nine years after Imoke left office.

Garba lamented that Muhammed Kafa, who died in a tragic accident in Kaduna, never saw his dream of receiving the house come true. “As we remember Muhammed, I want to use this opportunity to beg incumbent Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu, to redeem this pledge that was expressly made to players and officials of the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning team by his predecessor. This is a good way he can help immortalize Muhammed and help ameliorate the pains of his family. Besides, it will be a morale booster to others to always give their best for their fatherland.”

Manu Garba
Coach Manu Garba

On November 15, 2013, Governor Imoke, during a reception for the victorious team, offered house gifts to the 21 players and 10 officials for making the country proud in the UAE. He said, “We want to make an investment with you in property… each one of you would have a small piece of property that is your own and that would have been fully developed; that you can rent out or occupy.”

However, Garba said it is shocking that this pledge has yet to materialize. “Of course, we were all excited when Senator 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 we are yet to be given the houses as promised, even though the housing estate has long been completed and occupied,” Garba explained. Efforts made during the tenure of Imoke’s successor, Professor Ben Ayade, did not yield results.

Garba continued, “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 but nothing was done about the house gifts during the tenure of Professor Ayade. But since the government is a continuous process, we are pleading with Governor Bassey Otu to use his good office to fulfill this pledge made on behalf of the state by Senator Imoke.”

Garba also sought the intervention of the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, who is from Cross River State, to ensure that the promise is honored. “We have waited so long and just last year, we lost one of us, our hard-working equipment manager, Muhammed Kafa, but I think it will be in his good memory if the house gifts are redeemed and show that our labor of winning the World Cup in 2013 is not in vain,” Garba concluded.

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