Nigeria’s vice-president, Kashim Shettima, expressed admiration for the Super Eagles despite their loss in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. The team was defeated 2-1 by hosts Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday night.
Shettima, who attended the game at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan, assured the players that their courageous performance would be recognized and rewarded.
“We have given our best, and rest assured that there will always be another opportunity. Remember that the tragedy of life lies not in failing to reach your goal, but in not having a goal to strive for,” the vice-president expressed while addressing the players and officials after the match.
“It is not a calamity to have dreams and not achieve them, but it is a calamity to have no dreams at all. Many countries, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and others, exited the competition weeks ago. We have come this far, and we will return stronger in the next edition. This is a reason to celebrate. We are the second-best team in Africa.”
Shettima urged the players not to be disheartened and emphasized the nation’s pride in their achievements. He acknowledged the unifying power of the Super Eagles, stating that football transcends race and religion.
“The nation mourns, but the nation stands in solidarity with you. Rest assured that your names will be etched in gold in the history of Nigerian football. I bring you the well wishes and regards from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. There is no need for sadness. Just a few days ago, we were celebrating, and today we came so close. We lost the game within 15 minutes, but that’s the nature of football.”
Shettima emphasized the need to learn from mistakes and make improvements in the next edition of the tournament. He assured the players that their sacrifices would be duly rewarded and that there was no reason for remorse or sadness.
“Honestly, we are immensely proud of you, and the nation will adequately compensate you for your dedication. You came close, and there is no need for regret or sorrow. Let us not be sad or remorseful. Instead, let us celebrate and unite. The trophy may not be ours this time, but it still belongs to Africa. It is the Africa Cup of unity, and it came to West Africa.”