What you need to know:
- Vice President Kashim Shettima who led a government delegation to the packed stadium said that Africa was the ultimate winner of the tournament.
- He stated that the tournament had served as a powerful platform to showcase Africa’s potential and resilience.
In Nigeria, Sunday night was one of the longest and most silent in the history of the country’s football.
Fans wanted an end to the final match after Super Eagles scored the first goal against Cote d’Ivoire but they were not in control.
After the initial shock resulting from the initial goal, people turned to prayers in all the match viewing centres.
Later, hisses took over as Nigerian players faltered. Fans wanted the clock to roll over for final whistle, but their wishes turned into more sorrow. When the Elephants took a 2-1 lead, Nigerian fans crawled to their beds in disappointment.
But characteristic of a parent, President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima and other top government functionaries counselled Nigerians to accept the silver bestowed on the Super Eagles.
“Nigerians should be of good cheer; we won a great victory in the hearts of Africa and the world by our grit, rigour, and determination in the field of play,’’ Tinubu told Nigerians after the match that ended 2-1 in favour of the Elephants.
“Let this passing event not despirit us, but it should 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.
Tinubu and government functionaries who were at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa to watch the match, saluted the team, coach, crew and the management of the team. He praised Super Eagles players for reaching the final, and acknowledged the hurdles they overcame.
Vice President Kashim Shettima, who led a government delegation to the packed stadium, said that Africa was the ultimate winner of the tournament.
He stated that the tournament had served as a powerful platform to showcase Africa’s potential and resilience.
“It has reminded us of the importance of teamwork, dedication, and the unwavering spirit that defines our continent.”
He added that the tournament had showcased the brilliance, passion, and resilience of African football, and the power of football as a unifying factor that transcends race, region, or religion.
“Most importantly, we must keep in our minds 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.
Nigeria’s stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong won the Most Valuable Player award in the tournament.