AFCON 2023: Supporters Club Deserve Presidential Handshake – Ladipo 

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*Says NFF to determine Peseiro’s fate

By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos 

President General of Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo has expressed regrets that the efforts of the club are not being fully  appreciated by the government, just as he appealed for a change of heart.

Ladipo who led the club to Cote d’Ivoire where they supported the Super Eagles, noted that while it’s commendable that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu conferred a national award to the silver winning national team, however, regrettable that no mention was made of the  members of the Supporters Club who spent their hard earned money to be at the tournament.

” I must have to commend Mr. President for not only hosting the Super Eagles but conferring national awards on them but I need to put it on record that this country is yet to appreciate the efforts of the Supporters Club.

” These are men and women who spent three to four days on the road before getting to  Cote d’Ivoire and as I speak to you now, many of them have not come back to the country, a week after the tournament.

” When we got to Cote d’Ivoire, we discovered that Supporters Club from other countries such as; the host nation, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, South Africa and others were sponsored by their various governments who apart from paying their flight tickets, took care of their accommodation, feeding, transportation within the host nation and even paid them allowances.

” So, what am saying is that in as much as we commend Mr. President for hosting the Super Eagles, he should also host the Supporters Club”, he stressed.

He explained that apart from few corporate organisations like Nigerian Breweries, Sifax Group and Goldberg, there was no government support to the club  which he described as regrettable.

Speaking on his experience in Cote d’Ivoire, Ladipo stated that he was happy Nigeria was not disgraced in the finals and that the Supporters Club were at their best throughout the duration of the championship.

” It’s true that we did not win the trophy but we were not disgraced and I must have to commend our players for their gallant display not minding the hostile atmosphere in  which they played.

” I must have to  commend our players because they played that final game under a very hostile atmosphere. All the stadium was packed with Ivorians who took advantage of their government throwing the gate open to troop out in their thousands to watch the match.

“Getting tickets for the final  was also a herculean task  to Nigerians and at a stage we have to park our vehicles many kilometers to the stadium and resorted to trekking but in all these, members of the Supporters Club were not deterred but kept on supporting the team to the end”, he said.

On whether the NFF should retain Super Eagles gaffer, Jose Peseiro, he explained that the decision lies with the football house who are his employers.

” You’re aware that the NFF  gave the Portuguese tactician a semi- final mandate but he surpassed it and took the country to the finals. However, as his employers, they’re in a better position to decide whether to retain him or not”, concluded Ladipo who also doubles as President of Nigeria Boxing Board of Control ( NBB of C,).

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