Calabar - Gov. Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has donated N10 million to the Golden Eaglets for winning the first leg of the final round of the qualifiers for the 2013 African Youth Championship.
The team had on Nov. 18 at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, defeated their Malian counterparts 2-0.
Akpabio gave the cheque for the amount on Wednesday through his Senior Special Assistant on Governmental Affairs, Mr Akaniyene Eyo, at Eaglets' Princeville Hotel camp.
He also assured residents of the state that the government would build an Olympic size Stadium in Uyo in 2013 and appealed to Nigerian youths to desist from violence and embrace sports.
"From next year Akwa Ibom is going to deliver to the world an Olympic size stadium.
"FINA, the world swimming governing body’s president, came to do the ground breaking but what he saw was beyond foundation.
"And we are determined to complete that project in a reasonable time next year. With the facilities we have there, I am sure there is no stadium in the world that will beat it.
"So, Akwa Ibom will deliver it to all of us. We want to encourage you to perform and be humble. You cannot be a good footballer if you are not humble," Akpabio said.
He urged the youth to respect their coaches, adding that with humility they could achieve success for themselves and for the country.
He said the State Government would continue to partner with the Golden Eaglets and make the donation a continuous process.
The governor said that it was important that the Eaglets win the return leg in Bamako in a fortnight to change the dwindling fortunes of Nigerian football.
"Today is a great day and as young boys I challenge you to play like Nduka Ugbade and Emmanuel Amuneke.
"At a point Nigerian football was declining and Nigerians are hoping on you to play like they used to play, that is the challenge of life."
The governor noted that the ranking of Nigeria in African football was poor and said that he believed the younger ones were going to redeem it.
The team's Head Coach, Garba Manu, who received the cheque on behalf of the Golden Eaglets, said they lacked words to thank Akpabio.
"On our part, this N10 million will go a long way to motivate this team to win its next match in Mali.
"Thanks so much for contributing to motivating the Golden Eaglets. Sincerely speaking, we have never had it so good. We are impressed by what Akpabio has done for us.
" This will go a long way in motivating this team toward winning our match in Bamako when we played against the Malians even though they are bigger than our boys, Manu said.
Contributing, the team's captain, Ali Baba, said: "We promise you will get the best from us and we pray to God to see us through.
"You gave us the money so that our mission will be accomplished. We thank you and promise not to disappoint you," he said.