Saint Valentine is a widely recognized third century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 each year and associated with a tradition of courtly love, since the High Middle Ages. Although he died in 269 AD, Saint Valentine’s Day is still observed and celebrated in many countries around the world.
In Delta state, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan on Thursday (Valentine) night made members of the Super Eagles proud of their Nations Cup effort when he organized a befitting reception for them and also rewarded them with mouth-watering cash gifts.
On behalf of the Super Eagles, Coach Stephen Keshi and the players who left Asaba walking taller than their heights confessed: “I have really lost words to describe all these. I thank God for making me a Nigerian from Delta State. What can I do and how do I say thank you? The best way to thank you is to pray for you every day of my life,” Keshi told Dr. Uduaghan.
For Uduaghan who also invited top musicians and comedians to entertain, “Sports is one of the areas we want to develop and which we hope can help sustain our economy beyond the oil time.”
Deltans thronged into the Dome (Event Centre), venue of the reception, to honour the Eagles. The special visitors were greatly entertained. It was a night of laughter, music and celebration of the Nations Cup heroes. In the hall were, interestingly, some of the past heroes of Nigerian football who are of Delta origin.
They include George Ogawon, the first university graduate to play for the Eagles, Jossy Dombraye, Godwin Etemike, Owolu, Ebuwan Didiare as well as Austin Jay Kay Okocha.
Uduaghan, while calling on the sports heroes to mentor the younger ones, said the plan is to get more people into sports and also develop the industry by re-naming of the Asaba Township Stadium as Stephen Keshi Stadium on Thursday, February 14, 2012.
The elated Governor Uduaghan gave out mouth-watering cash gifts to the coach and players, as Keshi got N8 million, a plot of land in Asaba with a pledge to build a duplex on the land.
The four assistant coaches got N4 million each, while each player was given N2.5 million each. In addition, each past and present player in the winning team received N2.5 million with players (Fegor Ogude, Elderson Echiejile and Ambrose Efe) of Delta State origin getting extra N2.5 million.
The Super Eagles Supporters Club received N3 million while the State-funded Warri Wolves Football Club got N5 million for contributing players to the national team. Sunday Mba, Chigozie Agbim and Azubuike Egwuekwe are all Warri Wolves players. Nosa Igiebor, Fegor Ogude and Ambrose Efe all played for Warri Wolves before they left for Europe.
Nigeria’s notable artistes, Panshak Zamani (Ice Prince), Delta born Sidney Onoriode Esiri (Dr SID) and stand-up comedians, including Ali Baba, I Go Die and others were among the retinue of entertainers that thrilled the victorious Super Eagles at the state banquet organised by the Delta state government at the Event Centre, Asaba.