It’s sad government is yet to fulfill Tunisia ’94 promise to my teammates, says Fuludu
The Super Eagles’ squad that conquered Africa at Tunisia ’94 Nations Cup was considered the greatest team in the history of Nigerian football. The squad, led by Coach Clemens Westerhof, had great stars as Sunday Oliseh, Austin Eguavoen, Uche Okechukwu, Peter Rufai, Alloy Agu, Austin Okocha, Edema Fuludu, Nduka Ugbade, Samson Siasia, Ben Iroha, Daniel Amokachi, Finidi George, Mutiu Adepoju, Mike Emenalo, Victor Ikpeba, Chidi Nwanu, Efan Ekoku, Emeka Ezeugo and Emmanuel Amuneke.
Five other members of the squad are now late. They are Skipper Stephen Keshi, goalkeeper Wilfred Agbonavbare, top striker Rashidi Yekini, defender Uche Okafor and midfielder Thompson Oliha.
For the historic feat in Tunisia, the Federal Government led then by late Gen. Sani Abacha, promised to reward every member of the team with a house each.
However, 26 years down the lane, more than half of the members are yet to get their houses. This, to Edema Fuludu, is not the best way to treat national heroes.
“Any time I listen to sports analysts talking about Tunisia ’94 squad, what readily comes to my mind is the unfulfilled promise of houses made by the government to some of my teammates,” Fuludu told The Guardian yesterday. It is sad that 26 years after that promise was made, about half of the members are yet to get their houses. The government should do something about it.”
Fuludu, who is the chairman of Delta Football Association, revealed that soon after Abacha’s pronouncement, 12 members of the team picked Abuja as location for their houses, while others opted for Lagos.
“As at 1994, not many people had interest in having their houses in Abuja. Then, Lagos was the place to be. Twelve of us picked Abuja, while others chose Lagos.
Fuludu narrates how the 12 players that picked Abuja, including Efan Ekoku, Rashidi Yekini, Nduka Ugbade, Daniel Amokachi and himself got their houses.
“We were preparing to defend our title two years later at South Africa 2006, and we insisted on getting our houses before we will depart. That was how the government hurriedly renovated some houses and handed the key to us. It was a three-bed room apartment. Unfortunately, we had to boycott that Nations Cup. I feel so bad that my other teammates are yet to get their houses 26 years after. It is more painful when you remember that we have lost Keshi, Agbonavbare, Yekini, Uche Okafor and Thompson Oliha,” Fuludu stated.
The Guardian recalls that last year, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, a footballer, asked for an immediate presentation to his ministry, the promise made to members of Tunisia ‘94 AFCON-winning Super Eagles team. Fashola made the request in Abuja, while presenting on behalf of government, documents of an apartment allocated to former Super Eagles Chief Coach, Clemens Westerhof.