Abuja - Aminu Maigari, the President of Nigeria Football Association (NFA), on Sunday rewarded the Golden Eaglets and officials with N1 million each.
The NFA, Assistant Director, Media, Ademola Olajire, said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday that Maigari gave the players and officials the money in the dressing room of U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
The statement said the gesture followed the 2-0 win of the team over their Malian counterparts in the first leg of the final match of the 2013 African U-17 Championship in Morocco.
"I am delighted by your performance today, just as I was when I watched you against Guinea in the second round some weeks ago. Certainly, you are the future of Nigerian football.
"But I want you to keep level heads and continue to improve as you abide by the instructions of your coaches.
"I am giving you this sum of money as appreciation of your toil and enterprise against the Malian team that looked much older and also to motivate you ahead of the return leg in Bamako in two weeks," Maigari said.
In the match, Defender Wilfred Ndidi and midfielder Alhassan Ibrahim got the goals for Nigeria in an entertaining game officiated Ivorian referee Kouame Ndri.
According to the statement, the Deputy Governor of Cross River, Mr Efiok Cobham, represented Gov. Liyel Imoke (CON), while Maigari and First Vice-President, Mike Umeh, led the NFF crew.
"NFF chieftains were full of praises for the invention of the Eaglets and the wisdom of their technical crew, consisting of Manu Garba (Head Coach), Emmanuel Amuneke (First Assistant), Nduka Ugbade (Second Assistant) and Emeka Amadi (Goalkeepers’ Trainer), all ex-international players.
"But they cast doubts over the authenticity of the declared ages of the Malian team. They are going to protest to CAF concerning this Malian team.
"Physiologically, it is not possible that the players are under the age of 17,” observed Chris Green, chairman of the NFF Technical Committee.
The return leg will take place in Bamako in a fortnight with the winner on aggregate qualifying for the finals in Morocco in April, 2013.