Hon. Sunday Dare (middle) with Coach Yusuf (right), Nigeria legend Mutiu Adepoju (second left) and Oyo State Sports Commissioner, Hon. Seun Fakorede (second right) in Ibadan on Wednesday

Youth and Sports Development Minister, Hon. Sunday Dare on Wednesday pumped up the spirit of the U23 Men National Team, Olympic Eagles as the 1996 Olympic champions drew 1-1 with NPFL side Shooting Stars in a friendly match at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan.

Reiterating that football is a national treasure, the Minister charged the players to give their all when they play Tanzania in Dar es Salaam this weekend, and do the same when they host the East Africans in the return leg at the Lekan Salami Stadium on Saturday, 29th October.

“Football is a national treasure in our country and I want you to know that any time you go out there, you have a responsibility to give your very best and do the nation proud. Go to Tanzania and win, and come back home to this same venue and wrap up the victory,” Dare told the team as they prepared to depart Ibadan for Lagos, where the delegation would fly out of Nigeria on Thursday night.

The Minister also noted that the journey to qualify for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics starts on Saturday and only the fittest and strongest will earn the ticket to represent Africa. He expressed optimism that the team would conquer going by the high quality exhibited by the team against Shooting Stars.  

Dare wished the team well while promising that the Sports Ministry, Nigeria Football Federation and the Oyo State Government will provide it all the support needed to triumph.

Responding on behalf of the team, Head Coach Salisu Yusuf commended the Minister for the visit as he assured Nigerians of a good outing on Saturday.