Argentina’s ambassador to Nigeria, Alejandro Herrero has advocated the straightening of footballing ties between Argentina and Nigeria, insisting that there are compelling commonalities between the two countries in the realm of the ‘beautiful game’.
Sports Village Square recalls that Nigeria-Argentina fixtures have become a recurring decimal at the World Cup.
The ambassador made his remarks during a courtesy call on the President of Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Pinnick at the NFF Secretariat, Abuja on Monday.
Sports Village Square also recalls that the Nigerian ambassador to Argentina, Chive Kaave was a former executive committee member of the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA).
Ambassador Herrero recalled several instances of on-pitch skirmishes between the two countries, saying that Nigeria and Argentina “always clash at the FIFA World Cup with narrow wins for Argentina but you have won one Olympic gold medal at our expense and we have won one at your expense.”
In a buoyant and relaxed atmosphere, the Ambassador said he would particularly be delighted to see regular games between nine –time African champions, Super Falcons and the Argentina Women A team, as well as exchange programmes and meaningful collaboration between the Football Federations and Clubs of both countries.
In his response, Pinnick said he was excited by the possibility of closer collaboration and stronger footballing ties between Nigeria and Argentina, as this would benefit the NFF in its drive to accomplish its mission of building a sustainable football culture for Nigeria and fostering the building of a virile football industry – areas in which Argentina has some knowledge and experience.
“Our mission is to build a sustainable football culture for our country, and eventually have a robust football industry that will not only sustain itself but also contribute significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Argentina is a country where the football culture is fully entrenched. Our teams clash all the time at the FIFA World Cup, at the Olympics, at youth tournaments and in friendly matches and both have had their victories.
“We have immense respect for what Argentina has been able to do in football, but you will agree with me that Nigeria has also made immense impact in world football, from youth tournaments to the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. Now, we seek to buoy our football industry to become the big business that it should be.”
Pinnick also mentioned the maiden edition of the First Lady of Nigeria Invitational Tournament being planned for later this year, and hinted that both countries could explore the possibility of Argentina Women A team joining the fray.