President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr.
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 forthnight 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.
“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
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
“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. 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.
“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
“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.”