Nigeria’s vice-president, Kashim Shettima, has lauded the efforts of the Super Eagles players despite their defeat to Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles succumbed to a narrow 2-1 loss to the hosts in a fiercely contested encounter at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Ebimpe, Abidjan, on Sunday, February 11, 2024.
William Troost-Ekong had initially given the Super Eagles the lead in the first half. However, the hosts staged a comeback, securing victory through goals from Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller.
Addressing the players and officials after the game, the country’s vice-president expressed his admiration for their performance and resilience. He emphasized the importance of having dreams and aspirations, highlighting the unity and pride the Super Eagles bring to the nation.
“We have tried our best and be rest assured that there is always the 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,” Shettima remarked.
He continued, “It is not a calamity to die with a dream, but it is a calamity when you don’t have a dream at all. A lot of countries, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and others exited the competition, two, three weeks ago. We have come this far, be rest assured that we will come back stronger in the next edition.”
Acknowledging the disappointment of the defeat, Shettima urged the team to focus on the positives and use the experience to improve for future tournaments. He assured them of the nation’s pride and support, emphasizing that their names will be etched in the history of Nigerian football.
“The nation is proud of you. 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,” he added.
Shettima conveyed regards from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and encouraged the players to celebrate their achievements. He emphasized the need to learn from mistakes and strive for excellence in the next edition of the tournament.
“Honestly, we are very proud of you and the nation will adequately compensate you for your sacrifice. You came close, there is no cause for you to be remorseful or sad,” he concluded.
Despite the defeat, Shettima’s words of encouragement and support underscored the nation’s solidarity with the Super Eagles and their contribution to the unity and pride of Nigeria.