NPFL return: Akabe sets continental target for Nasarawa United as team gets warm reception at home

It was a colorful setting in the City of Lafia on Friday evening as the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr. Emmanuel Agbadu Akabe, received the State’s football heroes, Nasarawa United, following a successful outing at the just-concluded 2023/24 Nigeria National League Super Eight Play-off competition wherein the team gained promotion to the elite domestic football league, the Nigeria Premier Football League, for the 2024/25 Season.

Akabe while commending the team said the next target is to go continental.

It would be noted that Nasarawa United returned to top-flight football in the Country after just one season off, actualizing the mandate of the administration of Governor Abdullahi Sule.

The feat has been greeted by breathtaking accolades from supporters and fans of the Club, including the Deputy Governor, who led other top Government functionaries, critical stakeholders as well as political appointees of the current administration to receive the brave ambassadors of the State at his temporary office located inside the old Presidential Lodge, Shendam Road, Lafia.

In his remarks, the Deputy Governor said;

“Our dear gallant soldiers who went to the battle field and returned home with the NPFL ticket without losing any soldier, on behalf of His Excellency, the sports-loving Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, and the very good people of Nasarawa State whom you are representing, we welcome you back home and congratulate you on what you have been able to achieve.

“For us, you are the champions of the Super Eight competition because you played four matches and lost none at regulation times.

“I promised to be with you if you got to the final, and I did!

“The Governor would have loved to be the one to receive you, but after he was briefed that you would return home late in the evening, he decided to direct me to represent him in receiving you as he will personally host you to a special reception by next week when he is back from the Sallah break.

“We thank you for the feat you have been able to achieve. We thank you for the successes recorded, and for carrying the weight of millions of people of the State on your shoulders.

“Now that we have secured the Premier League promotion, we should be working towards going higher, which is the Continental appearance, and by the grace of God, this administration will provide all the necessary supports to attain this target before the 2025/2026 season.”

Akabe praised the individual achievement of the Technical Adviser of the Solid Miners, Coach Usman Adams, who emerged as the ‘Most Disciplined Coach’ of the Super Eight Play-off competition, and urged him to sustain the momentum while keeping focus from distractions.

The Deputy also congratulated the Management, Coaching and Backroom Staff as well as Supporters of Nasarawa United for their resilience, team work and dedication to achieve a common goal.

He equally applauded the Management and Staff of the State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the State Football Association for working round the clock to achieve success together.

Akabe made personal donations of One Million and Five Hundred Thousand Naira(N1,500,000.00) to the players, Five Hundred Thousand Naira(N500,000.00) to the Technical Team, Three Hundred Thousand Naira(N300,000.00) to the Management Team, and Two Hundred Thousand Naira(N200,000.00) to the Supporters’ Club.

Earlier, the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Jafaru Ango,  appreciated the Governor and his Deputy for their relentless supports to the team, disclosing that it was through the immense support of the duo that the Solid Miners could return to the Premier League immediately, and pledged to reciprocate the gesture, going forward.

Chairman of Nasarawa United FC, Dr. Othman Ahmed Ibrahim, said he and his team were fulfilled for meeting the mandate of the Governor and Government of the State by qualifying the team to the Premier League.

He noted that despite not winning the Super Eight title, the team has not embarrassed the State as the main assignment was to promote to the elite league.

The Club’s Supremo promised to continue to do everything humanly possible to meet the mandates of the Governor Abdullahi Sule-led administration for the progress of the State, even as he appreciated all those who continue to stand by the team to achieve success.

Salisu Galadima ‘Basira’, Chairman of Nasarawa State Football Association, on his part, congratulated the Governor, his Deputy and people of Nasarawa State for the milestone achievement, disclosing that it was the seamless platform created by the Sule-led administration that is birthing a new zest in sports development in the State, adding that Nasarawa would be home to all the leagues in the Country next season, emphasizing the promotion of FC Basira from the Nationwide League One to the second tier league, the NNL, while WAN-Agara will participate in the NLO Division One category, as Nasarawa Amazons feature prominently in the Nigeria Women’s Premier League.

The FA Chairman reiterated the support of his Board towards the development of football and football activities in the State in line with the blueprints of the Sule administration for sports.

Captain of the Solid Miners and former Nigerian junior international, King Osanga, expressed the gratitude of his teammates to the Governor, his Deputy, the Management and Staff of the Club, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the Supporters’ Club, the State Football Association as well all various stakeholders for standing by them to achieve success.

He said they would work assiduously to justify their promotion in the elite domestic league and signpost their presence in CAF’s inter-club Competition.

Nasarawa United secured promotion to the 2024/25 Nigeria Premier League Season after winning all three of their Northern Conference’s games in the Super Eight Play-offs, topping with nine points.

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