- Category: Sport
- Published on Saturday, 22 May 2010 22:41
- Written by Admin
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Bidding the team farewell, the President said: ''I call on you to bring home the golden trophy as a present for our country's golden jubilee.''
Nigeria will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence from Britain 1 Oct., three months after the World Cup would have ended in South Africa.
Jonathan said the first World Cup to be held on the African soil would not have been complete with Nigeria's participation, in a reference to the hard road that the Super Eagles had to travel to reach the 11 June to 11 July finals.
The late President Umaru Yar'Adua had to set up a presidential task force to ensure Nigeria's qualification, after a string of unimpressive results put its qualification in jeopardy.
Fittingly, the President paid tribute to his late predecessor for ''ensuring that we qualified for the World Cup.''
He did not announce any incentive for the team, but assured it of a generous reward if it performs well.
President Jonathan said he would attend the opening match of the global tournament between South Africa and Mexico and also watch Nigeria's opening game against Argentina the following day in Johannesburg.
Most of the 30 shortlisted players attended the dinner, held at the highbrow Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
As part of their final training session, the Super Eagles are billed to play two friendly matches in Europe before heading to South Africa, where they will play their final friendly against North Korea 6 June.