Twenty-two years after Nigeria’s heroics at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, winning the men’s football gold, the coach of the so-called ‘Dream Team’ Bonfrere Jo has been rewarded with a three-bedroom apartment in Abuja, the country’s capital.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, handed Jo the keys of the apartment at a brief ceremony Abuja in fulfilment of a promise the Federal Government made to the Dutchman after he guided the national U23 team to win the men’s football event at the Atlanta ’96 Olympics.
Fashola said, “Let me on behalf of the President apologise to you that it has taken so long for the Nigerian government to come through. We thank you for your contribution to the development of our country, our youth, football and to say that it is better late than never. Nigeria always comes through, we have come through for you.
“It is proper that with just a few days to another World Cup, Nigeria fulfils and redeems this pledge and I hope that this will serve as an inspiration to our players going to the World Cup and the officials that this government will be there for you all the way.
“Ordinarily, this ought to be a short meeting but if it takes 22 years for the government of the country to respond to its citizens, it must assume a news-making event. This is consistent with the commitment that the President has made that once again, he will make Nigerians proud of their country. This country should always be there to respond to the needs and expectations of the citizens.”
Jo, who is now 71 years old, thanked the government and stated that the gesture would encourage sportsmen and women to work hard, knowing that their achievements would not go unrewarded.
“As a coach that was directly involved in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and the 1996 Olympic football gold medal victories, I crave for an impressive performance for our Super Eagles in Russia and offer my support to the team and technical staff,” he said.