Clemence Westerhof with Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and others at the presentation of a house papers to the former national team coach.
The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja presented documents of the apartment promised to former Super Eagles coach Clemens Westerhof for leading the national team to glory in 1994.
The Dutchman helped Nigeria qualify for their first-ever World Cup in the United States in 1994, as well as win a second Africa Cup of Nations title in Tunisia 25 years ago with a set of players now regarded as the country’s Golden Generation of footballers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, who made the presentation on behalf of government, said it was regrettable that a promise took so long to redeem.
“It is unfortunate that this is a promise that has taken us so long to redeem. But it is indeed better late than never in this case,’’ he said.
“I thank Westerhof on behalf of all of us for the services he rendered to Nigeria, and we are proud that he has come to receive the documents alive.”
The minister went on to disclose that Westerhof’s apartment was under renovation and would only get the keys after the apartment was ready for occupation.
Westerhof expressed delight after finally getting the apartment, which is in the Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT.
“I am thankful to you all, and now I can feel myself more of a Nigerian now. I can now stay here when it is so cold back there in Europe. I also thank God for this blessing of being invited here today to collect my papers. I hope I will soon get my keys, because you never know with Nigeria,” he said.
“Nigeria is a country where people love to win at all times, and Nigerians were not ready for any nonsense. This was very clear to my players, and that is why we were able to move the country from number 79 on the rankings to number five by the end of the World Cup. But my trainings were hard and tough, but the players still coped.”
Earlier at the occasion, Dickson Onoja, the Director of Public Buildings at the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, traced the history of the promise made by the FG, then under the leadership of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
“Abacha had then in 1994 announced the package, but it was not until 2018 when Bonfrere Jo, who was one of Westerhof’s assistants, sent a passionate letter of appeal to government on the matter.
“Our minister (Fashola) looked into the matter and Bonfrere got an apartment. Few months ago, Westerhof sent in his own and the minister instructed that the right thing must be done again, and that is why we are here today,’’ Onoja added.