Former MFM FC coach Nduka Ugbade has revealed how the long-overdue monetary reward for the victorious start of U17 in China’85 was “cut” from 20 million naira to 2 million naira.
Ugbade, who was the captain of the Nigerian team in the victory in the U17 tournament, revealed this in a conversation with Sports. Responding to a question about his saddest moment in football, Ugbade said:
“So my saddest moment was when we returned and there was a military coup that removed the government of General Mohammadu Buhari and Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon, who was his second in command. We were saddened that most of the promises they made to us were not kept. “
The former U17 assistant coach continued: “The second joy I had again (although it is not yet complete), I will never forget it, it was after 32 years, he (President Buhari) still remembered calling us all, wherever we were, the President called us back home to keep his promise.
His Excellency, President Buhari, took the podium and announced N20 million for each of us, knowing that 35 years was a long time. School fees that were supposed to have been paid, some of those guys would have been graduates today, with a minimum of Bsc or even a PhD, but today they are not.
To our greatest surprise, the moment the president announced it, we knew we were worth so much. With N20m, we could build one or two bungalows of approximately N5m each in our various states and we would live well. We were also expecting national awards, at least MON, because one group got MON after winning the U17 tournament. How come the winners of the inaugural edition, a victory that has given us recognition wherever in the world I go, but not at home?
Immediately we finished, the then minister, Solomon Dalung now took the podium and said that the president made a mistake, a slip. That the quantity was N2m. Two million naira for 32 years? Fatai Atere used around $ 6,000 to buy a plane ticket to attend the event, as it was a sudden invitation. “