President Bola Tinubu has hailed the Super Eagles resilience and talent in their outing at the 2023 African Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cote d’Ivoire.
He saluted their tenacious performance in the finals of the tourney which saw them coming second behind host Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale noted that the President commended the team, coach, crew and the entire management team.
He described their hard work, assiduity and sacrifice to come this far in the tournament as a sign of the Nigerians ‘can do’ spirit.
Tinubu acknowledged the hurdles they consistently surpassed with steadily improving performance as they pulled through to the finals.
The President urges Nigerians to be of good cheer, emphasising that the team’s performance won a great victory for Nigeria in the hearts of Africa and the world through its grit, rigour and determination.
“Let this passing event not dispirit us, but bring us together to work harder.
“We are a great nation bound as one by the green-white-green banner of resilience, joy, hope, duty and untiring love.
“To those cherished Nigerian youths expressing their gifts in communities, drawing lines in the sand as they play football in their humble rectangles of play, you can be our heroes tomorrow, do not relent in your pursuit.
“My administration is here to make dreams come true”, he said.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kashim Shettima on Sunday said Africa was the ultimate winner of the just concluded AFCON held in Côte d’Ivoire.
Shettima stated this while reacting to the outcome of the finals between Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire, in a statement by his Media Aide, Mr Stanley Nkwocha, in Abuja.
He stated that the tournament had served as a powerful platform to showcase the potential and resilience of Africa.
“It has reminded us of the importance of teamwork, dedication and the unwavering spirit that defines our continent”, he said.
He added that the tournament had showcased the brilliance, passion and resilience of African football.
The vice President said football is a unifying factor that transcends race, region or religion.
“But most importantly, it must be kept in mind that no matter which way the pendulum swings, Africa is the ultimate winner.
“The unity of Africa, our tolerance threshold and cohabitation is even more important than the victory itself.
“We witnessed dazzling display of skills, tactical battles fought with unwavering determination, and moments of sporting camaraderie that warmed the hearts of millions.
“From the electrifying atmosphere of the stadia, to the joyous celebrations across the continent, Africa came together.
“We cheered our teams, yes, but we also marveled at the artistry of our players, shared in their successes and commiserated with their defeats”, he said.
Shettima emphasised that the success of the tournament belonged to every nation that participated.
He also added that the outcome of the tournament belonged to the dedicated fans, who roared with unyielding support.
“It also belongs to the organisers, who tirelessly ensured a smooth and spectacular event.
“And most importantly, it belongs to the players, from every corner of Africa, who poured their hearts and souls onto the pitch, showcasing the talent and potential that brims within our continent.
“Nigeria may not have lifted the trophy tonight, but Africa truly emerged as the champion.
“This tournament has served as a powerful reminder that our strength lies in our unity.
“We are more than just individual nations; we are a vibrant tapestry woven together by shared history, culture and dreams.
“Let this tournament be a catalyst for further collaboration and cooperation across the continent”, Shettima said.
The vice-president urged Africans to channel the passion and unity witnessed on the football pitch into tangible progress in all spheres of life.
“Let us work together to overcome the challenges that still hold us back, and build a brighter future for all Africans.
“Let us celebrate the power of unity, the beauty of diversity, and the boundless potential that lies within our continent”, he added.
Shettima further commended the Super Eagles for the display of skills, saying “our hearts remain filled with immense pride for the Super Eagles.
“While the trophy may not be coming home to Nigeria tonight; our hearts remain filled with immense pride for the Super Eagles.
“They fought valiantly, displayed incredible skill, and left everything on the pitch. Though the result wasn’t what we desired, their journey throughout this tournament has been nothing short of inspiring.
“Let us remember that victory and defeat are two sides of the same coin in the world of sports.
“We acknowledge the triumph of Côte d’Ivoire and offer our gracious congratulations. Their success should not diminish the remarkable journey of our Super Eagles.
“Once again, congratulations to the Super Eagles! congratulations to Nigeria. congratulations to Cote d’Ivoire, congratulations to Africa”, he said.
Shettima also thanked the people of Côte d’Ivoire for their hospitality, sportsmanship and for creating a memorable AFCON experience.
“Tonight marks not just your victory, but the beautiful game that brings us together“, he added.