WHY I SPLASHED N31.8M ON FALCONETS - JONATHAN
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has explained why he decided to splash N31.8million on members of Nigeria's women U-20 team, the Falconets that finished fourth at the recently concluded FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in Japan. The President at the weekend during the presidential reception organised in honour of the victorious Paralympics athletes and the female Under-20 footballers at the Banquet Hall of State House announced a reward of N1m each for the 21 players of the women football team, while the nine officials of the team received N1.2m each.
Speaking during the reception, he said the Falconets that battled through qualifiers and regional tournament to become world fourth best at the FIFA U-20 World Cup did the nation proud. 'Falconets, despite not winning the championship, nonetheless represented the nation and were impressive. For flying our colour throughout the rigorous qualifiers, regional championship and not only qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, but fly our colours up to the semi finals to finish the fourth best in the world is a great achievement and deserve to be honoured. 'I also want to commend the officials and the technical crew who worked to put the team together to achieve this feat. Any team which is able to qualify and fly our colours in any FIFA organised event, has made us proud and would be celebrated.'
President Jonathan, who noted that no amount of money or award would be enough to reward the two groups of Nigerian sports figures, said the reception was a modest recognition of their achievements and urged the players not to rest on their oars. 'Your performance in Japan means there is hope they could form the nucleus of the new Super Falcons. Nigeria used to be a force to reckon with in football. I remember the performance of super Eagles at the Atlanta 1996. What we have offered you is just a token; no amount of money would be enough to reward you. For all the government top functionaries, state governors and our diplomats to come out and celebrate you shows that we appreciate your efforts. I congratulate and urge you not to rest on your oars.' Jonathan said.