Rufai, Diouf others extol Ambode as African legends hold Nigerian icons 4-4
It was fanfare at the Agege Stadium, Lagos at the weekend when Nigerian football legends battled with their African counterparts in an exhibition game to bid farewell to Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode.
Ambode, who is credited with building several sports facilities in Lagos State, will leave office later this month.
The game featured on the Nigerian side most of the 1994/96 set of Super Eagles, including Kanu Nwankwo, Austin Okocha, Austin Eguaveon, Finidi George, Peter Rufai, Emmanuel Amuneke, Sam Sodje, Taribo West, Ike Shorunmu and Alloy Agu against the best from the continent of that era. It ended in a 4-4 draw.
Speaking after the match, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Peter Rufai thanked the Lagos State governor for organising the ceremonial tie, saying the encounter helped to unite African stars, who gave their best to uplift football in the continent at club and national team levels.
“It is not all the time you see former African stars coming together to play.
“I must thank Governor Ambode for organising this ceremonial match. He has contributed a lot to develop sports in the state and bringing top stars to Nigeria clearly shows the love he has for sports.
“We, the players, are delighted for the honour given to us. The game has shown that Africa is united in football. I have not seen some of the players since we left the game, but the governor made this happen,” he said.
Also reacting to the ceremonial match, former Senegalese talisman, El-Hadji Diouf applauded the Lagos governor for giving African legends the opportunity to play football together again after a long while.
“The governor has done a great job for bringing the Nigerian and African ex stars together in the ceremonial game.
“I think the excitement displayed here by everyone is a reflection that Africa is united in football no mater the country you are from.
“The African spirit of greatness has been exhibited here. Nigeria is a big footballing nation, coming here to meet my friends after a long while makes me happy,” he said.
Liberia President, George Weah, who was among former African stars expected in the ceremonial match, was absent but he sent a representative from Liberia to honour the event.
Governor Ambode, who was given a standing ovation when he walked down the ceremonial guard of honour to celebrate his exit in office in a grand style, was almost moved to tears of joy as spectators and the football legends applauded him.
Popular comedian, AY played for the Nigerian team, while musician, Small Doctor thrilled the spectators with his hits.