Pinnick: 2017 was great, but 2018 will be more glorious | Nigeria sports news, transfers & gossips
Nigeria Football

Pinnick: 2017 was great, but 2018 will be more glorious

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

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.

“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

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.”

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