Abuja – The Ministry of Youth and Sports has refunded to Captain John Obi Mikel the $4,600 he paid for the team in São Paulo on their way to Salvador, a press statement from Nigeria Football Federation media officer, Ademola Olajire, said.
Mikel was said to have spent the money on the welfare of the football team.
Excited about the qualification of the Nigeria U23 team for the semifinals of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has again assured players and officials of the team that they will be given all that is due to them.
Addressing the players and officials after the 2-0 defeat of Denmark in Saturday’s quarter final match in Salvador, the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Chinyeaka Ohaa, said they are happy for the result.
“I am happy to be a Nigerian, because in spite of all the challenges, you have taken the world by storm; you have by your performance given happiness to more than 160 million Nigerians. Football is the biggest unifying factor in Nigeria today. From Mr. President to the average Nigerian you have made everyone proud today.
“I am humbled by your efforts, your commitment, your patriotism. I want to assure you that your sacrifices will not be in vain. Aside whatever the NFF have for you, we will as much as possible make you happy, if only you will be patient with us. Today, with your performance, I am convinced that you will get that gold.”
Responding, Captain Mikel Obi said: “We want to thank you for your fatherly support. In truth, there have been a lot of challenges, but every time we go onto the field, we forget about everything and make sure our fatherland comes first. We have done that so far and we will continue to do that, but we need more motivation.”
News24 reported that President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday night praised the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian soccer team to the ongoing Rio Olympics, which saw them flying over Denmark 2-0 to qualify for the semi-finals.