By Albert Akota
Captain of the D’Tigress, the 2017 Women FIBA Africa cup of nations’ title team, Aisha Mohammed says the latest gesture by the Federal Government to pay them 17.5million naira as earlier promised by President Muhammadu Buhari will spur the team to do better in future.
Speaking on her team mates’ behalf after receiving the transaction alert of 1m which is her own share of the presidential reward, the captain said the move was timely as they head into 2018 which is the FIBA women’s world cup year.
“I can confirm that we have received our money as promised when we went to present the trophy we won in Mali to Mr President.
On behalf of the team, I will like to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung for making this a reality.
“We must also not forget sports loving Nigerians who were supporting us while we were battling to bring glory to our motherland.”
Aisha said the recent action by his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari is a bold statement of intent ahead of their preparation for the world cup.
“We believe that his Excellency will make funds available through the Ministry of Sports for adequate preparation.
Like we have continued to maintain, we don’t intend to participate at the 2018 FIBA world cup just to make up the numbers, we want to show the world that we can compete favourably with the best in the world.”
In the same vein, the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and Dallas Wings’ player, Evelyn Akhator is optimistic that the recent gesture will help in swaying Nigerians making waves in leagues across Europe and America to come back home and represent their fatherland.
The WNBA star who is currently contracted to Dynamo Novosibirsk in the Russian league said the presidential largesse did not just boost the morale of the team, but will also send a message to others that “Nigeria will never ignore any of its own.
“I know that the NBBF is trying to talk to many Nigerian girls in the WNBA and also top leagues in Europe to beef up the team for the world cup.
The recent act by the government will in no small way play a role in convincing them to pledge their international future to Nigeria.”
Players were paid 1million naira each while the 5 Technical crew each got 500, 0000 naira.