- FG finally fulfilled pledge of house to former Super Eagles’ coach Clemens Westerhorf on Monday, May 25, at Abuja
- Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, stated that the Buhari administration was out to re-write the wrongs of yesterday
- Westerhorf assured Nigerians they will now see more of him in the country
The Federal Government finally redeemed a 25 –year promise made to ex-Super Eagles Technical Adviser Clemens Westerhof by handing him documents to a 3-bedroom flat on Monday, May 25, at Abuja.
At a ceremony hosted inside the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, at the nation’s capital, the Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola, stated that occasion will go a long way to show proof that the Buhari administration was “committed to putting right the wrongs of yesterday and redressing all forms of yesterday’s injustice”.
The Dutchman, Westerhof, was at the helms of affairs of the 1994 Super Eagles’ squad– otherwise known as the golden generation that qualified Nigeria for her first FIFA World Cup, as well as winning Nigeria’s first Africa Cup of Nations title on away soil reaching the Last 16 round at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in USA.
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Speaking further, Fashola, applauded the virtues of football as a “great unifier, which does not bow to ethnic, religious or quota system considerations,” and praised Westerhof for contributions to the Super Eagles, even as he apologized on behalf of Nigeria for taking 25 years to redeem the pledge.
“Mr. Westerhof ended our long –time search for a FIFA World Cup ticket, and afterwards went on to lead the team to Africa Cup of Nations glory. As a nation, we made promises, but there was no follow-up.
“I want the NFF to document those members of the squad that have not received their houses in the FCT as promised, and as soon as we receive this, we will respond positively. I was made aware that the promises had not been fulfilled through a letter by the assistant coach, Mr. Johannes Bonfrere, and we arranged for him to get his own in December 2017.
“Six months later, at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, a prominent journalist, Mr. Onochie Anibeze, brought it to my notice that the head coach, Mr. Westerhof was yet to receive his own house. We immediately initiated the process which has culminated in today’s event.”
Speaking earlier, the Director of Public Building and Housing Development, Dickson Onoja went down memory lane to extol the performances of the Super Eagles’ Class of 1994, and how then military Head of State, Sani Abacha, hosted the team after their AFCON triumph in Tunisia and promised a house each to every member of the team in Abuja.
Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, who was represented by the Director of Federations and Elite Athletes Department, Tayo Oreweme, commended the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing for fulfilling the pledge and referred to President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 fulfilment of his promise to the world-conquering Golden Eaglets of 1985 (when he was military Head of State).
Reacting at the occasion, NFF 2nd vice president, Mallam Shehu Dikko, who stood in for NFF president Amaju Pinnick praised the initiative of Fashola and his ministry, saying the redemption of the pledge was a positive sign to footballers and other sportsmen and women that promises made would always be fulfilled.
“At the last NFF Football Awards in Lagos on 1st April, we honoured specially this Class of 1994 Super Eagles. Those of them that are still alive and in the country were brought to the event and celebrated. We will compile a list of those who have not received their houses and revert back to the Ministry.”
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On his part, Westerhof, who flew into Nigeria from Holland on Sunday night, said: “I am overjoyed. I want to thank the Nigerian Government for this, and I want to assure you that you will now see more of me in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is my second fatherland, and I am proud of what we were able to achieve with the players in those years. They were disciplined, dedicated and determined to lift Nigeria high, and we took Nigeria from 79th position to 5th in the world. I am thankful. However, I feel sad that some of my players have left us. May their souls rest in peace.,” he summed up.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that former Super Eagles coach Christian Chukwu has landed in London with his wife as he is expected to receive treatment over his health issues.
Chukwu has been down with unknown sickness in Enugu for weeks before his family cried out to Nigerians when the situation got worst.
He was being taken care of at an hospital in Enugu before Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola donated the sum of $50,000 for him to be flown to the United Kingdom.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has arranged for an appointment for the Nigerian legend with a renown cardiologist in London.
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