Nigeria soccer buffs have hailed the gesture by Africa Cup of Nations star, Emmanuel Emenike’s offer to award his colleagues 50,000 dollars (N7.9m) if they defeat the Harambee Stars of Kenya in their June 6 World Cup qualifier.
They acknowledged the move as a worthy manner of motivating the players, even with his absence from the squad. Emenike has been sidelined by injury. Some have described his offer as a “motivational therapy’. They reasoned that Nigeria’s qualification could hasten Emenike’s recovery. Some also said that Emenike’s offer was similar to the likes of some African soccer greats like Cameroon’s Samuel Eto Fils, George Opone Weah of Liberia and Seydou Keita of Mali who have motivated their colleagues before major competitions.
Christian Chukwu, a former Super Eagles coach, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the offer showed how player regarded the qualification of the team for the World Cup. “It is a very good gesture; if other people can emulate him, we will be better off and have a stronger team. Although he is injured, we pray for him to get better before the match, which will be a good incentive to motivate the players’’.
Iroha, an ex-International, said that Emenike had proved that he had a heart of gold, to support the boys even in his absence. “I appreciate him for that. It is not easy to pull such a stunt. I wish the team well. I know that the team will miss him on the field but they should work with one mind and with that, they will make a success of the qualifier,’’ he said.
Ndubuisi Nduka, Head Coach of Heartland FC of Owerri, described Emenike’s gesture as an expression of `patriotism’. “The young man is one who is emotionally attached to his country and will want to contribute to the glory of his fatherland as he has shown by that offer. That goes to show that his mind is with the team, whether on or off the pitch. It’s a sort of internal motivation for the team, coming from one of them,” Nduka said.
Chinedu Efugh, Captain of Heartland, said that it was a good sign of oneness in the team. “A good team is one that is made up of inputs from all the departments. The fact that he is not going to be with the team notwithstanding, his contribution will go a long way to spur it to victory,” he said.
Mutiu Adepoju, an ex Super Eagles player, said for a player to offer that kind of amount showed that he was interested in the team’s victory. “If he can offer that, then it means he is capable of doing it,’’ he said.
Former coach of the Super Falcons, Paul Hamilton, said it was a superb encouragement . “I am astonished at the way he (Emenike) took charge and told his teammates to help him to win, to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I pray that they (Eagles) remain focused on the field of play’’.
Joe Erico, a former Eagles trainer, also commended Emenike, saying , he was up to the task. I believe words of encouragement would give his team mates the desired push to go all out. “Even when it won’t be an easy one for them, but I am positive that the results will be fair enough,’’ added the former goalkeeper trainer. Erico noted: “The team needs more of such encouragement from football administrators and fans alike.
“The team needs more of our support. We should always have this positive mindset when it comes to football, because it is what brings us together,” he added.