Photos By Ganiyu Yusuf:
A reception worthy of heroes was accorded the players and officials of the Golden Eaglets as they returned to Nigeria on Wednesday following a successful campaign at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
The coach Emmanuel Amuneke-led squad touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja aboard Emirates Airline flight EK 785 from Dubai at around 3pm. The team had stayed the night in Dubai on Tuesday after flying from Santiago the previous day.
On hand to receive the victorious boys and their officials was DG, Sports of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mallam Alhassan Yakmut, and other sports officials.
“The entire nation is proud of you. You have done a great thing to bring honour to this country, and Mr. President is very delighted. I also wish to convey to you the joy of the new Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports,” Yakmut told the NFF website.
A cultural troupe entertained just outside the arrival hall and made it possible for several airport officials, travellers and fans to take photographs with the players and officials, as captain Kelechi Nwakali held the glittering trophy aloft all the way.
Thereafter, players and officials were driven round some areas of the Federal Capital Territory in a motorcade before the convoy arrived at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
The new Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalong, later had dinner with the players at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
The Golden Eaglets will be released on Thursday, to reconvene for a presidential reception at a later date.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets were treated to a standing ovation aboard Emirates Airlines on their return trip to Nigeria after their Chile 2015 conquest, the NFF reports.
Travelling on Boeing 777 Flight 248 from Santiago to Dubai, the pilot after the usual protocol over public announcement system added matter-of- factly: “We are happy to have on board members of the Nigerian U-17 National Team that was just crowned as the world champions after they beat Mali 2-0 in the final on Sunday.”
The announcement was followed with loud clapping and screaming by almost 300 passengers of different nationalities aboard the big aircraft piloted by the duo of Captain Luciano and Captain Asredew, with two co-pilots Flying Officers Oliver and Arif.
“It is a great feeling to be world champions,” noted Funsho Bamgboye who scored Golden Eaglets second goal in the 2-0 defeat of Mali in the Final Match on Sunday in Vina Del Mar. “I’m happy that I have represented my country, state and family well and we can see that this has made a lot of people happy too.”
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