Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, February 12, 2024: Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, lauded the efforts of the national football team, the Super Eagles, despite their defeat in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations against hosts Cote d’Ivoire.
The Super Eagles succumbed to a 2-1 loss at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Sunday night, failing to clinch the coveted title.
Shettima, present at the stadium to witness the game, expressed pride in the team’s performance and assured them of recognition for their valiant effort.
In his address to the players and officials following the match, Shettima emphasised resilience and the importance of having goals. “We have tried our best, and rest assured that there is always next time. You must have it in mind that the tragedy of life lies in not reaching your goal, but the tragedy lies in not having a goal to reach,” he stated.
Despite the disappointment, Shettima urged the team to find solace in their achievements. “We have come this far; be rest assured that we will come back stronger in the next edition. There is cause for celebration. We are the second-best in Africa,” he affirmed.
He highlighted the uniting power of football in Nigeria, stating, “You are the source of our unity. It is only when the Super Eagles are playing that we don’t talk about race or religion. You always unite the nation.”
Shettima conveyed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s regards and assured the players of adequate compensation for their sacrifices. “Honestly, we are very proud of you, and the nation will adequately compensate you for your sacrifice. You came close; there is no reason for you to be remorseful or sad,” he assured.
In conclusion, he urged the team to learn from their mistakes and prepare for future tournaments, emphasising unity and celebration despite the loss.
The Vice President’s words echoed sentiments of pride and support from the nation as Nigeria reflected on their journey in the Africa Cup of Nations and looked ahead to future opportunities.