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Nigeria U17 World Cup winners rewarded... 31 years on

26 February 2016, 06:48

Abuja - Nigeria's victorious Under-17 World Cup-winning side have finally been rewarded -- 31 years after their achievement, the team's captain said on Thursday.

Nduka Ugbade said he and the other players from the Golden Eaglets side that defeated West Germany 2-0 in the final in 1985 had now received two million naira (just under $10,000, 9,000 euros) each.

Nigeria were the first African country to win the tournament and their victory prompted promises of gifts, including scholarships, shares in blue chip companies and houses.

But the rewards never materialised and Nigeria's then-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari was unable to make good on the pledges, as he was ousted from power in a coup.

Buhari, once again in charge but as a civilian president, last month met the 1985 under-17 squad at his official residence in the capital, Abuja, and vowed to keep his word.

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Ugbade, now 46 and a former Under-17 and Under-20 national coach, said the money had now finally arrived, adding: "I now believe in miracles. I never thought this day would come but it has come.

"Most of us had given up on any promises made 31 years ago to be fulfilled. But now we have something to tell our children our country has done for us."

Fatai Atere, who also played in the tournament and now lives and works in the United States, added: "It's not really about the cash but the fact the president thought it fit to still remember and honour us after so many years. We are grateful."



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