Federal Government on Monday fulfilled a 25 –year pledge to former technical adviser of the Super Eagles, Clemens Westerhof.
At an impressive ceremony inside the conference room of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Abuja, the Minister, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola said the occasion was a further proof that the Buhari administration was “committed to putting right the wrongs of yesterday and redressing all forms of yesterday’s injustice.”
Westerhof, a Dutchman, was head coach of the Super Eagles’ Class of 1994 – appropriately –styled Golden Generation – that won Nigeria’s first FIFA World Cup ticket, won Nigeria’s first Africa Cup of Nations title on away ground and reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in USA.
Fashola, himself a first-grade football enthusiast, eulogized the virtues of football as a “great unifier, which does not bow to ethnic, religious or quota system considerations,” and hailed Westerhof for serving his time with Nigeria’s senior team with distinction, while apologizing on behalf of Nigeria that the pledge took 25 years to redeem.
“Mr. Westerhof ended our long time search for a FIFA World Cup ticket and afterwards went on to lead the team to Africa Cup of Nations glory. As a nation, we made promises, but there was no follow-up.
“I want the NFF to document those members of the squad that have not received their houses in the FCT as promised, and as soon as we receive this, we will respond positively. I was made aware that the promises had not been fulfilled through a letter by the assistant coach, Mr. Johannes Bonfrere and we arranged for him to get his own in December 2017. Six months later, at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, a prominent journalist, Mr. Onochie Anibeze, brought it to my notice that the head coach, Mr. Westerhof was yet to receive his own house. We immediately initiated the process, which has culminated in today’s event.”
Earlier, the Director of Public Building and Housing Development, Dickson Onoja had narrated the exploits of the Super Eagles’ Class of 1994 and how then military Head of State, Sani Abacha, hosted the team to a reception in Abuja after the AFCON triumph in Tunisia and promised each member of the team a house in Abuja