Connect with us

Nigerian Football

AMAJU PINNICK: 2017 WAS GREAT, BUT 2018 WILL BE MORE GLORIOUS

Published

on

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick has expressed the satisfaction of the Federation with on-field and off-field results for Nigerian football in the outgoing year, while expressing conviction that the year 2018 will bring forth more honours and even greater global recognition for the Nigerian game.

     In the year 2017, the Super Eagles qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals with a match to spare from a so –called ‘Group of Death’; the Eagles B qualified for the African Nations Championship starting in Morocco in a fortnight and; the U20 and U17 girls swept aside opposition to reach the final round of qualification for their respective FIFA Women’s World Cup finals taking place in 2018.

   Off the field, a string of victories in the boardroom has given Nigerian Football a louder voice in international football politics and; a number of worthwhile sponsorship deals with corporate organizations has greatly reduced the financial burden on the nation’s supreme football –ruling body.

Advertisement

   “Largely, it has been an excellent year, on and off the field. The bookmakers, analysts and football fans all over the world thought we were going to find it difficult in our World Cup qualifying group, but we made it to Russia with a match to spare.

  “Now, we have already kick –started the preparations to the finals with a landmark agreement with the team on funds and renewal of the Technical Adviser’s contract to keep him fully focused on the job.

   “Like the World Cup, qualification for the CHAN was also down to hard work and focus.

  “We are ready to work even harder and focus much more ardently on our objectives in the year 2018, because we want to win the CHAN and achieve our best –ever outing at the FIFA World Cup,” Pinnick told thenff.com at the weekend.

   The CAF Executive Committee Member and Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions also revealed that big plans are afoot for the women’s game.

Advertisement

   “It is unfortunate that the coach we had contacted and approved for the Super Falcons’ job opted for something else before the contract was signed, but that is water under the bridge and we have moved on.

   “In a few weeks, we will unveil a highly qualified coach for the team and we will then take it from there. Already, we have signed a contract for a friendly match with the women’s national team of France for 4th April 2018 in Paris. We are also mindful of the on –going campaigns of the Falconets and Flamingoes for World Cup tickets and we will continue to give them maximum support.

   “We were absent from the youth tournaments in 2017 because we lost out of the qualifiers wanting to do things right. We have no regrets for insisting on doing what is right. We have already set the machinery in motion for a credible and enduring system that Nigerians will be proud of in a short while.”

    Pinnick insisted victories in the boardroom were major achievements considering Nigeria’s near zero presence in football politics’ top table for several years hitherto. “Now, we have someone high up in CAF and important in FIFA and we have people in FIFA committees and CAF committees. That is a step in the right direction.

    “I admit there were a couple of glitches in administration but that only showed we are human, but we have put measures in place to forestall unwholesome experience in the future.

Advertisement

   “It is going to be a very busy, busy first half of 2018 and I have told the secretariat to wake up and move at the same pace as the Executive.

   “In 2018, we will be thorough, we will be diligent, we will be professional and there will be zero tolerance for negligence and laxity. We are taking a winning mentality into 2018 and anyone not cut out for that will have to excuse us.

    “The World Cup is the big one next year and I believe we are going to be very ready when the tournament kicks off. We have lined up four friendly matches starting with the game with Poland in Warsaw on 23rd March. There will be other matches on 27th March, 28th May (in Nigeria) and 2nd June.

   “Certainly, we have been able to activate our plans thanks to tremendous support from the Federal Government. We are forever grateful to the President of the Federal Republic, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (GCON) and the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung who is always there for the Federation, intervened for us at critical times and made out time to watch the Super Eagles’ World Cup qualifying matches.”

    The NFF boss also handed big kudos to other highly –placed personalities who contributed in no small measure to the NFF’s achievements in 2017.

Advertisement

    “The President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, other cabinet ministers, the Executive Governors of Akwa Ibom, Kano, Lagos and Edo States and chairmen of sports committees of the National Assembly were pillars of support and I commend them.

   “Our partners and sponsors have been marvellous. AITEO Group, Zenith Bank, Guinness Nigeria PLC, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, IGI, NIKE, TGI, Payporte, Supersport and Radio Brila have all stood behind us like rocks and we are very, very grateful. In a few weeks, we will be signing more sponsorship contracts, which means we will have many more organizations and personalities to appreciate at the end of 2018.

    “I cannot fail to appreciate the members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm (the media). They kept us on our toes and have continued to play a creditable role in the development of Nigerian Football.”

 

 

Advertisement

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Nigerian Football

Enugu Rangers hold on grimly at the top as Nigerian league gets to home stretch

Published

on

Enugu Rangers may have broken loose from the pack following their comprehensive  3-0 victory over Bayelsa United on Sunday.

As if to aid Rangers’ hold of the top position, their closest rivals, Remo Stars who were initially just a point behind fell like  papers blown by the huricane, losing 3-2 to Kwara United. Their loss dealt a big blow on their title aspirations as they are now four points behind Enugu Rangers and had also narrowed their goal difference.

They are now third having been overtaken by Enyimba who have better goal difference even though both are with 56 points.

Shooting Stars who suddenly peaked in the second half of the season are fast pacing up, getting to the fourth position and three points behind Remo Stars.

They were dealt a blow in the added time as Katsina United’s Michael Okoro got an added time goal against to stalemate scores at 2-2.

Advertisement

Just as Enugu Rangers are at the cusp of the championship, the fates of Gombe United and Heartland appear already decided as the second tier Nigeria National League are already waiting to welcome them next season.

Akwa United may have navigated their ways out of relegation waters following their 2-1 away win over Lobi Stars. Akwa United are now 15th on the log. In Jos, former champions, Plateau and Niger Tornadoes played uninspiring goalless while relegation-troubled Heartland of Owerri spanked Gombe United 3-0 just as Kano Pillars dimmed Doma United 3-1.

All the results:

Sunshine Stars 0-0 Bendel Insurance

Rivers United 4-1 Sporting Lagos

Advertisement

Lobi Stars 1-2 Akwa United

Kwara United 3-2 Remo Stars

Katsina United 2-2 Shooting Stars

Kano Pillars 3-1 Doma United

Heartland 3-0 Gombe United

Advertisement

Enugu Rangers 3-0 Bayelsa United

Abia Warriors 0-1 Enyimba

Plateau United 0-0 Niger Tornadoes

Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

Finidi deserves our support, says former international, Kingsley Onye

Published

on

NFF Confirms Finidi George

Ahead of the first press parley that Super Eagles’ new manager, Finidi George is going to have on Thursday in Lagos, former Nigeria international, Kingsley Onye has canvassed for full support for the new coach.

 To him, the time of politicking and pushing for a particular candidate was over. “It is time for all of us to back the chosen one, Finidi George”, remarked Onye who was a left rearguard player in the 1985 class of Flying Eagles who against all odds, upstaged hosts,Soviet Union to clinch the third place in the then World Youth Championships that is now called the U-20 World Cup.

  “Although I canvassed for Emmanuel Amuneke’s candidature, am still happy that an equally good Finidi George got the job”, he said in a phone conversation from his base in the United Kingdom.

  “The fact that some players complained after Nigeria’s second friendly match in March shows that Finidi is a man of his class and cannot be influenced by players’ sentiments.

  “I believe he will take Nigeria to an enviable height, the same way Amuneke too would have done.”

Advertisement

 Continuing, Onye who played for Enugu Rangers while he was in the country in the 1980s also remarked that he was on the same page with Victor Ikpeba who has asked that Finidi’s assistants should always back him in team selection  and tactical formations.

 “We should be more than 100 per cent behind the coach. If we do, he will perform wonders. He has his own philosophy which we must allow to flourish. He did it will Enyimba, leading the club to success last season and was at the brink of repeating the success before his appointment as Super Eagles’ coach.”

Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

Published

on

Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

Advertisement

“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

Continue Reading

Most Viewed