2021 AWCON: Pinnick Confident Of Falcons’ Victory Against Ghana

 

The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick is confident that the Super Falcons would emerge victorious in the Qualifier match against Ghana.

Super Falcons of Nigeria have been drawn to face Ghana in the first round of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers.

Falcons, known to be the most successful team with nine titles in eleven editions, will once again compete for the first round of the coveted women’s AFCON title.

Pinnick who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Sports admitted that although the Ghanaian side is tough to beat; the Super Falcons would, however, scale through going by their level of preparedness.

“We are not going to joke with the Qualifiers because we are playing Ghana. We are going to take it very seriously because we want to retain the title,” he said.

 

A file photo of Super Falcons players posing for a photograph.

 

“We have gone beyond what we normally comprehend. We can easily beat a team 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-0, not anymore because there is a lot.

“Going by the last Women’s training in Ijebu-Ode, I saw the quality of our girls. They played well and that gave me a lot of hope.”

If the Falcons are successful in their encounter against the Black Queens of Ghana, the Randy Waldrum girls will face the winner between Niger and Ivory Coast to qualify for the tournament proper.

The qualifiers will span three rounds with home and away matches starting in the FIFA international window — from June 7 to 15, 2021.

Aggregate winners will qualify to join Morocco, the host nation, in the final tournament.

The tournament will then kick off from July 2 to 23 next year.

Pinnick Leads Drive For Infrastructural Development In African Football

President of the Nigeria Football Federation and Member of the CAF Emergency Committee, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick with President of African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation and Member of the CAF Emergency Committee, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick(R) with President of African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina.

 

The Confederation of African Football has intensified efforts for a $1billion lifeline for the wholesale revamp of football infrastructure on the African continent.

President of the Nigeria Football Federation and Member of the CAF Emergency Committee, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick led the drive at a crucial meeting in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital.

The NFF boss, who is also a member of FIFA Council, was accompanied by President of FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Dr Patrice Motsepe to pay a courtesy visit to the President of African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina.

Also at the meeting were CAF General Secretary, Mr Veron Mosengo-Omba and Ivorian football legend Didier Drogba.

“It was a very important meeting, as we started the push for our objective of raising $1billion to change the face of football infrastructure in Africa. You will recall that the CAF President made a statement regarding the need to raise this money for the sake of football infrastructure on our continent some weeks back. This new CAF regime is a doing team, not just a talking one. So, we have set out to work.

“The President of FIFA was there as solidarity for the steps we are taking. We had a very useful and positive meeting with the President of African Development Bank. Further talks are lined up. We are also going to meet with other institutions and individuals who have the means and the willingness to help African football to realise its potentials and break into the big time,” Pinnick said.

The meeting in the Ivorian capital came only a few days after the inspection team of Confederation of African Football released a report stating categorically that 22 of the 54 countries in Africa have no football pitch that meets the standard to host international matches.

New Nigeria Beach Soccer League Kicks-Off In Lagos

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick with other officials at the commencement of the Nigeria Beach Soccer League in Lagos on April 4, 2021.

 

The Elegushi Beach in Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos is bubbling with the commencement of the new Nigeria Beach Soccer League.

The League, which is the baby project of the Nigeria Football Federation, is also supported by Beach Soccer Worldwide, and Africa Beach Soccer Union.

Member of world football governing body, FIFA’s Council, Executive Committee Member of CAF and President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick did the official kick-off at the event.

Speaking on the sidelines after the inauguration, Mr Pinnick, who was in company with NFF 1st Vice President, Barr Seyi Akinwunmi, Nigeria Beach Soccer League Coordinator, Mahmoud Hadejia and other officials, said he was excited to be part of the historical moment, and that he was at the event despite his busy schedule, to reiterate the NFF’s endorsement, whilst also pledging his total support for the newly formed Nigeria Beach Soccer Association.

“I’m not going talk much today because I’m very excited that we are finally kicking off the Beach Soccer League in Nigeria. I’m here to officially endorse this project and to also physically express the Federation’s full backing,” he said.

“I want to appreciate everyone that made this happen because it has been a collective effort despite the many hurdles. It has been long overdue. By God’s grace, we will take beach soccer to greater heights of excellence.”

READ ALSO: NPFL 21: Kwara Utd Extend Unbeaten Home Record, Dakkada FC Win In Uyo

In a thrilling first-round Group A opener, Kebbi Beach Soccer Club beat Badagry United 4-2 to get their title contention underway.

Adams Taiwo set the ball rolling for them on the 8th minute when his low drive beat goalkeeper Zomoto Idowu of Badagry to give Kebbi the lead. Badagry came close to grabbing their equalizer in the closing stages of the first period through Achior Valentine but his effort went wide to end the first period 1-0 in favour of Kebbi BSC.

The Bashar Aliyu-tutored boys began the second period like they did the first, as a free-kick in the 5th minute by Badmus Faud gave them a comfortable two-goal lead. Down but not out, Badagry kept asking all the questions and were duly rewarded in the 8th minute through Akewusola Jamal. B Kebbi responded almost immediately when S. Ilimi Abubakar restored their two-goal cushion just on the stroke of the second period for 3-1.

Badagry started the 3rd period on the front foot and came close to getting their reward again through Atemo Samuel but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Arome Isah who had a terrific day between the sticks.

The ever-vibrant Isah could however do nothing to stop Achior Valentine’s free-kick in the 10th minute as Badagry pulled one back for 3-2.

Kebbi then made sure that any hope of a comeback was off the table for Badagry as they responded almost immediately via Adams Taiwo, who bagged his brace on opening day to lead the race for the Golden Boot.

In other matches played in Group B on Sunday, Igbogbo BSC of Lagos pummeled Edo HCF 6-3, Anambra BSC were 5-3 better than Kwara BSC in Group A, and Kada BSC squeezed past the Smart City of Lagos, 5-2.

Results

Group A

Kebbi BSC  4-2 Badagry United

Kwara BSC 3-5 Anambra BSC

Group B

Igbogbo BSC 6-3 Edo BSC

Kada BSC 6-4 Smart City

 

FIFA Election: The World Has Taken Notice Of Pinnick’s Competency Skills – Buhari

Pinnick's CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria - Dalung
A file photo of NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, on his election into the FIFA Executive Council.

In a statement on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President celebrated Pinnick’s election into the executive council of the highest decision-making organ in world football.

He believes that by dint of hard work, dedication, and consistency, Pinnick has proven to be an efficient football administrator.

READ ALSO: NFF President Pinnick Elected Into FIFA Executive Council

The President added that the world has taken notice of his competency skills by electing him into the FIFA Council and as one of the Vice Presidents of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

He noted that this feat of enhanced visibility and prestige of Nigeria in the international community came on the heels of recent elections of other well-qualified and endowed Nigerians into strategic leadership positions in international organisations.

President Buhari, however, advised the NFF president to see his new assignment as an opportunity to enhance Nigeria’s reputation and identity as a football-loving country.

He also asked him to optimally utilise the role of sports, through football, as a driving force to engender development, peace, and stability at the regional and international levels.

As an active supporter of the round leather game, the President joined other enthusiastic fans in Nigeria and across the continent in wishing the NFF president the best in his new position.

Pinnick, 50, was elected as a member of the FIFA Council during the 43rd CAF Ordinary General Assembly, which was held in Rabat, the Moroccan capital on Friday.

He beat Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi to the position. He is the third Nigerian to be elected into the FIFA council.

Late Etubom Orok Oyo and Amos Adamu were the other two Nigerians to have occupied the position.

The former Delta Football Association (DFA) Chairman was also elected as the fifth vice-president of CAF.

NFF President Pinnick Elected Into FIFA Executive Council

Pinnick is the third Nigerian to be elected into the FIFA Council. Photo: [email protected]

 

The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick has been elected into the FIFA Executive Council.

Pinnick, 50, was elected as a member of the FIFA Council during the 43rd CAF Ordinary General Assembly which was held in Rabat, the Moroccan capital on Friday. 

He beat Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi to the position. He is the third Nigerian to be elected into the FIFA council. Late Etubom Orok Oyo and Amos Adamu were the other persons from the West African nation to have occupied that post.  

READ ALSO: Three Hospitalized, Others Injured In Akwa United Auto Crash

Motsepe Leads CAF

Earlier in the day, South African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe had emerged as the President of CAF, taking over from Ahmad Ahmad.

A file photo of Patrice Motsepe. Source: Caf Online News.

 

“Africa needs collective wisdom, but also the exceptional talent and wisdom of every (national football association) president and every member nation,” he said.

“When we all work together, football in Africa will experience success and growth that it has not enjoyed in the past.”

Africa has suffered serious setbacks in recent years with all five qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia eliminated after the first round — the continent’s worst showing in 36 years.

Last November, Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad became the first CAF president to be banned by FIFA, with a five-year suspension for “governance issues” cut to two after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Ease Past RB Leipzig Into Champions League Last Eight

Just a few weeks ago, Motsepe, Ivorian Jacques Anouma, Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya and Senegalese Augustin Senghor were locked in an intriguing struggle for the presidency.

But FIFA-brokered meetings of the contenders in Morocco and Mauritania led to mining magnate Motsepe becoming the sole candidate. Senghor and Yahya were given the first and second vice-president roles.

File photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks during the inauguration of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) new headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on October 30, 2018. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

Anouma, who initially declared the pact “undemocratic”, is a former FIFA executive committee member and becomes a special advisor to Motsepe.

As some CAF officials railed against alleged interference by the world body, FIFA president Gianni Infantino played down the role of his organisation.

“I am delighted that FIFA has been able to contribute, even if just a little, to this crucial moment for football on this great continent,” he said.

Pinnick Declared Eligible For Membership of FIFA Council

Pinnick's CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria - Dalung
A file photo of NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick.

 

President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has been declared eligible for membership of the FIFA Council.

In a letter dated January 26, the Chairman of the FIFA Review Committee, Mukul Mudgal, informed Pinnick of his eligibility for the position.

“We refer to our correspondence dated 18 November 2020 regarding the subject matter. In this regard, we kindly inform you that the Review Committee has declared you eligible for the position of member of the FIFA Council,” the letter read in part.

Pinnick had disclosed his intention to vie for membership of the FIFA Council, which is the highest decision-making body in world football, back in November 2020.

He had initially been tipped to join the race to become President of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), but opted to join the FIFA Council instead.

With his eligibility confirmed, the NFF President is inching closer to his plan of claiming one of the two positions on the Council for the CAF Anglophone group.

Acting CAF President, Constant Sélémani Omari (Congo), and Almamy Kabélé Camara of Guinea are both seeking to return to their positions in the world football governing body as CAF Francophone group representatives.

Pinnick was elected NFF President in 2014 and successfully ran for re-election in 2018.

NFF Approves Owumi’s Appointment As LMC’s CEO-Designate

pinnick_1
File photo of NFF President, Amaju Pinnick.

 

The Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick has approved the recommendation of the League Management Company (LMC) for the appointment of Davidson Owumi as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organising body for the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Owumi, who has had a stellar career both as a player and club administrator, is expected to resume office after the upcoming annual general meeting of the League Management Company.

He replaces Hon. Nduka Irabor, a celebrated journalist and former Member of the House of Representatives, was the first Chairman of the LMC before becoming its CEO and resigned from the position months ago.

READ ALSO: Rivers United Begin NPFL Campaign With Win Over Rangers

“The LMC has started the new season on a positive note, putting their best foot forward with the telecast of the matches on NPFL.TV and some star games on NTA. The excitement is back and the spirit is right. It is the right time to bring in a class act like Owumi to help in steering the ship in the sterling direction that it has assumed,” NFF President Pinnick said on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: US Investors Acquire EPL Club Burnley

Davidson Owumi is a titan in Nigeria domestic football as a player and administrator of note. He started playing the game from his primary school days, and then played for Government College, Ughelli, NEPA FC and NNPC FC both of Warri, Flash Flamingoes, Bendel United, Sharks FC of Port Harcourt among others, and had stints in Greece, Cyprus, Qatar and Spain in his professional football odyssey. He also featured briefly for the senior national team.

Owumi emerged the League’s highest goal scorer in 1993, and three years later, became the coach of 1977 Africa Cup Winners’ Cup champions, Rangers International FC of Enugu.

Since then, he has served as Chairman of the club, served as MD/CEO of Warri Wolves, served as Board Member of Nigeria Premier League and as Chairman of the Nigeria Premier League. He is presently General Manager of Rangers International FC of Enugu.

“Owumi’s pedigree is impressive and we believe he will greatly complement the work that the LMC has been doing and help drive the new thinking, new vision and new direction. It was not an easy task to secure his release by the Enugu State Government to take up the LMC CEO’s position, and we quite understand. He is an asset to any establishment,” Pinnick added.

Sierra Leone Draw: I Shed Tears For The First Time In A Long Time – Pinnick

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, speaks with the Super Eagles in their dressing room at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

“After they scored the fourth goal, I shed tears for the first time in a long time,” an emotional Amaju Pinnick told the Super Eagles after Nigeria and Sierra Leone played a 4-4 draw.

Pinnick, who is the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), shared how he felt with the players on Friday in their dressing room after the game ended.

The match, which held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital, was the first leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the two teams.

He stated that the Nigerian team had no excuse to share points with the visiting side after leading by four goals.

 

What happened to us?

Pinnick believes football lovers are disappointed with the performance of the Eagles in the match, noting that it is the worst result recorded by the team since he became the NFF president.

Super Eagles players at their dressing room in the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

He said, “I will say it the way it is in my heart and the hearts of so many Nigerians; the truth is that we can’t be leading 4-0 to Sierra Leone and concede four goals for no reason, there is no reason.

“Since I became the president of NFF, this is the worst result I have seen in my life and in the next few days, I wonder how I’m going to sleep.”

“It’s not because of losing, it’s not because we won’t qualify for the Nations Cup, it’s certainly because this is towards the end of the year, you know the passion, the love Nigerians have for this game.

“It’s football, definitely, it’s football; it can go either way, but what happened to us? Were we complacent? Were we just so comfortable that we were leading 4-0 and all of a sudden, the goals started coming in?” the NFF president queried.

He stressed that the nation’s football governing body made sure it provided the necessary support to ensure Nigeria succeeded in the game.

 

Winning Is An Understatement

According to Pinnick, the blame will not be on the players but neither him nor the Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr was on the pitch.

He, however, stated that the only way for the Eagles to redeem themselves was to beat Sierra Leone in the return-leg by a margin of four goals.

Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, sits beside a Nigerian player at one of the dressing rooms at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

The NFF president said, “It is for us to go to Sierra Leone and beat them that 4-0. It is not winning, winning is an understatement.

“It is to give them that 4-0 and make sure they don’t score one. That is the only thing we will do from the blast of the whistle till the end of that game.”

“The beauty about falling down is the resurgence in us to bounce back, bounce back in a grand style because what you’ve done to them is that you’ve given them the confidence that Nigeria is beatable.

“We must re-engineer this team, we must go to Freetown and we must beat them in Freetown by those four goals so that we would know truly that the Eagles have landed,” Pinnick told the players.

Super Eagles players listen as NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, addresses them after a 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

The return-leg is scheduled to take place on Tuesday next week at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone.

Rivers United, NFF At Loggerheads Over PPG Verdict

Rivers United
A file photo of Rivers United logo

 

Rivers United have dispelled talks that a deal has been agreed with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to accept whatever decision that emanates from the ongoing intervention on the interpretation of the Points-Per-Game (PPG) verdict on the 2019/2020 football season.

Speaking during the inspection of the re-construction and re-grassing work at the main bowl and football training pitches of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, insisted that reports being circulated in the media do not reflect the true position of what transpired at a virtual meeting with the NFF.

“Rivers United did not at any time agree with the NFF on anything and that definitely is not what transpired at the meeting.

“During the virtual meeting, there were lots of arguments on our stand that we remain in the second position, which we rightfully deserve,” Iyaye told reporters in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

 

FIFA’s Intervention?

In a recent interview with Channels Sports, President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, confirmed there was a virtual meeting where they discussed how to reach an understanding.

Expressing his opinion on the issue, Pinnick advised Rivers United to stop contesting the PPG verdict.

When asked if the Port Harcourt based club has a case, he responded, “I don’t think so.

“In our last executive committee meeting, the issue came out. We were meant to ratify the decision by the League Management because they had already made their decision based on extensive consultation and it’s in line with their rule book.

“But just for fairness, we decided at the executive committee meeting that we should, again refer it to the football committee headed by the first vice president and we gave them a mandate to deliver a report in the next few days.”

And it is that fairness that the NFF president mentioned that Rivers United wants.

The club management believes the PPG process was flawed and Mr Iyaye confirmed they would keep fighting for justice.

He said, “We called on them to obey their own rules which guide the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). We also talked about how the LMC used an inconclusive head-to-head, which runs contrary to the rules; we x-rayed the situation in other leagues across the world in the realisation that FIFA and CAF do not interfere in the domestic operations of its affiliates.”

Giwa Takes Control Of NFF As Dalung Asks Pinnick To Obey Court Order
A file photo of NFF logo.

Providing more details from the virtual meeting, the NFF president is optimistic they will reach an agreement.

“We had a very interesting session and we also agreed that after all these consultations, especially with the football committee, if you believe you have superior argument, then why not?” Pinnick questioned.

He added, “I’ve also told them that if it means we write to FIFA for advice which I’ve already done, with FIFA’s advice, the football committee will look at it and we will harmonise all and present a final verdict.

“The Commissioner of Sports in Rivers State confirmed the credibility of what we are doing and whatever comes out, they will accept. And that’s the spirit, if you believe our argument is objectively superior, not subjectively superior, objectively and scientifically proven, then we believe you should allow it to fly.”

 

‘Our Position’

Channels Television reached out to the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, and he refutes the comments of the NFF president.

“All he said wasn’t true. We stated our position and he said he will make further consultations and get back to us. We didn’t agree to any decision. Those are tricks.

“We do not have a problem with the points-per-game model but it should be implemented the right way. The NFF should respect article 2.9 of their rule book,” said the commissioner.

“Don’t make a decision to favour a particular party. We are seeking justice. They should do the right thing. We are ready to fight this to a logical conclusion,” he concluded.

Watch Video: NFF Insists Rivers United Have No Case On PPG Verdict

Why NFF Used PPG to Conclude 2019/2020 NPFL Season – Pinnick

Pinnick's CAF Victory A Big Success For Nigeria - Dalung
A file photo of NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick.

 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has explained why the Points-Per-Game (PPG) formula was adopted in concluding the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.

During a live Instagram session on Thursday, NFF’s President, Amaju Pinnick reiterated that it was the decision of the vast majority of the clubs in the NPFL, which was also subjected to careful analysis and consultations.

He said, “We did not just sit down and take a decision; we consulted widely even after the clubs opted for PPG following the work of the NFF Football Committee. The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development was also brought into the picture.”

The NFF also promised that financial support would be given to clubs in the NPFL, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Women Football League, and the Nigeria Nationwide League for next season’s football campaign, due to challenges that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the Federation is at the moment expecting a total sum of $1 million from world football-governing body, FIFA, and another $500,000 from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

“We would take from these various monies and add also from monies that we are expecting from our corporate partners and see what we can give to each of the clubs in these four cadres.

“This financial support is for them to get their campaigns off the ground for the new season that we have set for September/October, depending on what signals we get from the Federal Government, through the Presidential Task Force on the COVID-19 and other relevant organs. We are also going to support the league organising bodies financially,” Pinnick stated.

Although he said that the football body has written to the Federal government to also support the cause, he admitted that the government was presently burdened with so many challenges wrought by COVID-19.

 

Getting The Girls Ready

The NFF president, however, gave an assurance that the NFF would prioritise for now, the qualification of the U-17 and U-20 women national teams for their various FIFA World Cup competitions, as well as getting top grade friendly matches for the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons.

He said, “CAF has written to inform us that the qualifiers for the U-17 and U-20 FIFA Women World Cups will hold in September and October. We are determined to prepare our girls well to qualify for both championships.

“At the same time, we are working assiduously to see that the Super Eagles and Super Falcons get quality opponents for friendly matches within the next few months. For the Super Eagles, we have an African team and a South American team on the cards.

“First and foremost, we have to get the Super Falcons a Head Coach of the highest quality possible. We are working on that, as our consultants are already on it, and working on the appointment of coaches for some other national teams. On our part, we have ringfenced a sum of money to pay the Head Coach of the Super Falcons for a number of years to come, so that challenge is taken care of.”

 

Nigeria Will Not Beg

On the issue of continuous trailing of players of dual nationality with a view to getting them to represent Nigeria, Pinnick stated clearly that only players with the keen interest and resolve would be encouraged, as Nigeria would not beg any player to represent her.

He said, “It is about ardour and fervour. If a player has decided for Nigeria and only want to be assured that he would be much welcome, we will come in and provide that assurance.”

On grassroots football development, Pinnick said this year’s NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Championship, which was already at the zonal stage before the disruption occasioned by COVID-19, would have to start all over again.

“We have no choice. It is a programme so close to our hearts, knowing that it serves the important purpose of providing true youngsters for the National Teams. The pandemic has disrupted and certainly, some of the players would no longer be of the age that they were before the disruption. So, we have to start all over again.”

On a final note, the NFF President appealed to the media and other stakeholders of the game to shun the allure of negative sensation, with some misguided and mischievous members of the football family always bandying around fictititous and outlandish figures as having been misappropriated by the football body.

“I keep saying that you may not like Amaju Pinnick, but the bigger picture is Nigerian Football and its future. Negative stories about the game have damaging impact on the brand and even when Pinnick leaves, the problem of damaged brand will still be there.

“Those of us at the helm of the NFF presently are there because we have the passion to develop the game, do things differently and take the Nigeria game to new heights. We came into office and brought gilt –edged corporations like PriceWaterHouseCoopers and Financial Derivatives Company on board because we are totally committed to transparency and accountability. There are legitimate claims that we forgo simply because we did not come into the Federation for the money. I appeal to everyone to consider the interests of Nigeria football and continue to shun the purveyors of half-truths and outright fiction.”

We Won’t Beg Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka To Play For Nigeria, Says Pinnick

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (2nd L) chases after the ball during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

Mr Amaju Pinnick says the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will not beg Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka to play for the Super Eagles.

He said this on Thursday in an Instagram chat with the NFF media department, noting that there are many players of Saka’s pedigree in Nigeria willing to play for the three-time African champions.

 

pinnick_1
File photo of NFF President, Amaju Pinnick.

 

Pinnick, who is the NFF President, said although the 18-year-old is an excellent player, anyone interested to feature for Nigeria must show zeal.

It’s About Interest

According to him, the football body will always welcome Saka or others with interest in playing for the country.

“There are many players that play like Bukayo Saka in Nigeria. We don’t want to go begging any player,” Pinnick said.

He added, “It is about ardour and fervour. If a player has decided for Nigeria and only want to be assured that he would be much welcome, we will come in and provide that assurance.”

Similarly, Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr had in the past said he would not beg anyone to play for Nigeria and that players must show interest in the country first before inviting them.

Undecided Future

In December 2019, Saka told the BBC that he had yet to decide the country he would play for at the senior level.

The versatile player, however, said he had not been approached by either the Nigerian or English side.

Saka who is having a breakthrough season with the Gunners after making a senior debut in 2018, is eligible to play for the Super Eagles and the English Three Lions.

 

Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (L) high-fives Arsenal's English striker Bukayo Saka (R) as Saka goes off substituted during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on July 4, 2020. (Photo by Michael Steele / POOL / AFP)
File photo:  Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (L) high-fives Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (R) as Saka goes off substituted during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on July 4, 2020. (Photo by Michael Steele / POOL / AFP)

 

He was born to Nigerian parents and has also played for the English team at age grade levels.

Since breaking into the Arsenal first team this term, he has scored two goals and made five assists in 15 games for the North London side.

He recently signed a long-term deal with the Premier League club following his impressive performances.

VIDEO: The Future Looks Good For Super Eagles – Henry Onyekuru

Pinnick: COVID-19 Pandemic Has Punished Football Globally

 

 

President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick says the Covid-19 pandemic has punished football globally.

Pinnick who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sports This Morning, disclosed that the coronavirus outbreak has really affected football operations worldwide.

“Football is football but it has taken a huge toll globally. The English Premier League, on TV rights alone, they have lost over 800 million pounds, Serie A has lost 750 million euros while the La Liga has lost 780 million Euros.

“The right holders of the French Ligue 1 have said they will not pay the league because there has been no content to deliver so they are holding back 125 million euros.

“Clubs across Europe have agreed to paycuts. See the Olympics suffering a loss of 6 billion dollars for the postponement to next year,’’ Pinnick confirmed.

READ ALSO: Pinnick: Gernot Rohr’s New Contract Will Have Clauses

Pinnick described the Covid-19 situation as a call for reflection, a time that provides an opportunity to see how we redirect, refocus and plan strategically. Not just for the NFF, it’s for everybody. “When you sit at home, use this time to take a deep breath, pause, meditate and do what you believe you need to do right.”

The NFF president further explained how it has affected football in Nigeria, “In Nigeria, we were planning a huge award ceremony for the Super Falcons.

“We want to celebrate what the ladies have done for football development in the country.

The class of 1999 were impressive at the world cup and we have to honour them the way we did for the men. But this pandemic has paused everything.’’

The former CAF executive committee member admits post Covid-19 will be very tough. He added that the NFF we will take critical decisions working with the ministry of youth and sports development and major stakeholders to look at the things that can achieved realistically.

“We’ll definitely look at what we have. Right now we have about 11 national teams, we have all these things going on, we know what football means to Nigeria, so we need to interface with political stakeholders, we also need to interface with the ministry and see how best we can position or reposition ourselves because trust me, it is really bad. Every competition is important, that I can tell you.’’

When questioned about sustaining sponsorship for major competitions in the country, he answered, “There’s no competition that is not important but do what we call the scale of preference, that is the trick. You look at your priority, it doesn’t mean in future that we cannot go back do.

“There are so many things that we need to cut down on. We have to look at the reality of what is going on, it’s not just going to affect only football, it will affect practically every facet of the economy. Which means all the other sponsors will also come back and say they want to renegotiate, they want to talk with you again and some will pull out.”

The NFF boss also explained the relevance of the year 2020, particularly the post Covid-19 period.

“We believe that we don’t want to get distracted irrespective of anything because we know this year and next year, it’s going to be a tough call for Nigerian football. We need to qualify for the world cup. Its unforgivable, it’s a sin that you cannot forgive.

If you don’t qualify for the world cup, we know what it means to Nigeria. So we need to stay focused. We want to enjoin everybody to support us in ensuring that we qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup,” he affirmed.