President Buhari Receives FIFA President, Infantino

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will pay keen interest to accountability and transparency in order to fast-track football development in the country.

The President said this at a meeting with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, at the State House.

For about an hour, both men rubbed minds on how to develop the game of football in the country.

Mr Infantino also met with the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and members of the National Assembly and also highlighted the need for football development on the continent.

The Senate President assured the FIFA delegation of the support of the National Assembly. He, however, appealed to the Nigerian Football Federation to put its house in order.

 

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu Buhari
L-R: President of Nigeria Football Federation Mr Amaju Pinnick, FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino, Secretary General of FIFA Ms. Fatima Samoura and Minister of Sports and Youth development Solomon Dalung at the State House

Gianni Infantino was led to the Presidential Villa by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Pinnick as part of Infantino’s two-day official visit to Nigeria.

He was in company of FIFA Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and executive board members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

In a press conference afterwards, the FIFA President said that Nigeria should be a model for the rest of the world in football development.

He said that the football federation needs to work with relevant authorities in order to achieve its goals.

The FIFA President said that his visit to Nigeria has given him a chance to meet with 18 presidents of African football associations who converged on Abuja to meet with him on how to develop football in Africa.

The 40-year-old assured Nigerians of his support for the growth and development of the round leather game in Nigeria.

The NFF Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, has described the visit of the FIFA President, which is also his first in Africa as an epoch event.

He says it also shows the hard work the NFF has put in place in developing football especially at grassroots level.

Football Administrators Should Learn To Accept Defeat – Saraki

Football administratorsPresident of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Monday admonished football administrators to learn to accept defeat in the interest of the immediate environment and larger society, and not engage in ‘pull-the-house-down’ syndrome when things do not go their way.

Nigeria’s number three man spoke at the Senate President’s Conference Room at the National Assembly when he received visiting FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samoura, alongside NFF President Amaju Pinnick, FA presidents from other African countries and members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management.

“The kind of global recognition we have today, as a result of this historic visit, challenges us to learn to allow peace and stability in Nigeria football. If people lose election, they should learn to accept defeat.

“People used to blame politicians for do-or-die attitude; politicians have moved; it is now football administrators who have this attitude! When you lose an election, you should be prepared to wait for the next poll.

“I call on those who are fomenting trouble or trying to divide the house to stop their act. The National Assembly is united in moving to restore peace in Nigeria football, and creating an enabling environment for the game.”

Saraki, who owns a football club (ABS FC, in the Nigeria National League), acknowledged the passion and love of Nigerians for football as incredible. “Football is a big unifying factor in our country. As governor of a state, I set up a football academy because there are so many talents out there waiting to be nurtured.”

Earlier, the FIFA boss called Nigeria ‘a great country in a great continent,’ adding: “I was impressed coming from the airport on Sunday and seeing so many kids playing football on both sides of the road. That shows Nigerians not only love football, they live football.

“There is great passion and great tradition, but there is need for unity and stability. I was elected on pledges of reforms, transparency and to develop the game. I am happy that Ms Samoura accepted to be Secretary General and the Executive Council endorsed her, because her choice said something for inclusion, gender equality, diversity and the future that we promise.”

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, reiterated that the visit, the first time that both the FIFA President and Secretary General would travel together on a non–football competition assignment, confirmed that Nigerian football commands respect globally.

He acknowledged the role of the National Assembly in re-defining Nigeria football development, saying that peace is key to true growth.

He also recalled that months ago, the first football match was played in Maiduguri after a long time, with a huge crowd at the stadium boldly proclaiming the power of football to enable ceasefire even in war situations.

In attendance were Senators Obinna Ogba, Philip Aduda, Shuaib Abdullahi, Barau Jibrin, Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai, Monsurat Sunmonu, David Umaru, Mao Ohuabunwa, Tijjani Kaura, Albert Bassey and Mohammed Hassan, and Honourables Goni Bukar Lawan and Danburam Abubakar.

Also on the visit were the FA presidents of Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Somalia, The Gambia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and South Sudan.

NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi; NFF vice presidents, Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko; NFF Board members: Ibrahim Gusau, Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, Babagana Kalli, Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Sharif Inuwa and Chris Green.

Other are former NFF vice president, Amanze Uchegbulam, former NFF Board member Ahmadu Kawu and Deputy General Secretary Emmanuel Ikpeme.

Earlier in the day, the FIFA President and Secretary General inspected the new NFF headquarters (Sunday Dankaro House) located at the Package B of the National Stadium.

Infantino‎ To Support Nigeria On Football Development

FIFA President, Gianni InfantinoFIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has given the assurance that he will work with Nigeria to achieve football development.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, Infantino said that Nigeria already has a framework that can be worked upon for long term success.

The FIFA President affirmed that he will use his visit to establish a productive working relationship with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that will be geared towards sustainable development.

Infantino also believes it is about time African football leaders get fully involved in international football politics.

Mr Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samba Samoura, arrived in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja on Sunday on a two–day working visit.

The FIFA officials were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, members of the NFF Board and some football club owners in the country.

The objective of the visit is to renew FIFA’s commitment towards developing football in Africa and promote corporate support for the sport in Nigeria.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino Arrives Nigeria

FIFA President, Gianni InfantinoPresident of football’s world governing body, FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samba Samoura, have arrived in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja on a two–day working visit.

The FIFA officials were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, members of the NFF Board and some football club owners in the country.

The objective of the visit is to renew FIFA’s commitment towards developing football in Africa and promote corporate support for the sport in Nigeria.

About 20 football federation presidents from Africa are in Nigeria for this event and will be meeting with the FIFA President and Secretary General later on Sunday.

On Monday, Mr. Infantino and Ms Samoura, led by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung and NFF President Pinnick will pay a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

He will leave Nigeria on Monday after meeting with personalities of corporate Nigeria and potential sponsors of football.

NFF Names Paul Le Guen As New Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser

Paul Le Guen, NFF, Super Eagles, Technical AdviserThe Technical and Development Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation on Monday named Frenchman Paul Le Guen, as the new Technical Adviser of the Senior National Team, Super Eagles.

He will be assisted by Nigerian Salisu Yusuf, who takes the role of Chief Coach.

The appointments are subject to agreement of contract terms with the NFF Executive Committee.

Spokesman of the Committee, Paul Bassey, told thenff.com after the meeting at the NFF secretariat on Monday that Enugu Rangers gaffer Imama Amapakabo and former Super Eagles’ goalkeeper and skipper Alloy Agu, who served as assistant coach and goalkeeper trainer for the games against Mali and Luxembourg in May, retain their places in the technical crew.

The new crew’s immediate challenge is a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania in the first week of September – a dead rubber, but which would serve as ample preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match away to Zambia on October 3.

The 52-year-old new Eagles’ boss steered the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.

He played for Brest, Nantes and Paris Saint Germain and won 17 caps for France, before coaching Rennes, Lyon, PSG (in France) and Glasgow Rangers (in Scotland). He also coached Oman.

Yusuf, capped at U20 level by Nigeria, called the shots in interim capacity for two international friendly matches in Europe at the end of May, which the Eagles won.

The Committee has also recommended to the NFF Board, the appointment of one–time Super Eagles’ assistant coach Bitrus Bewarang as the new NFF Technical Director. Bewarang, who is president of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association, will replace the late Coach Shaibu Amodu.

There is also a recommendation that former Super Eagles’ defender Nduka Ugbade be restored to the U17 National Team as assistant to Coach Manu Garba.

FIFA President, Infantino Confirms Visit To Nigeria

FIFA President, Gianni InfantinoFIFA President, Mr Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samoura will arrive Nigeria on July 24, 2016, on a 2–day working visit.

The President of the world football governing body confirmed the trip following a meeting with NFF President, Amaju Pinnick in Paris, France on Sunday.

At the one-hour meeting involving Infantino, Samoura and Pinnick on Sunday, Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung spoke with the FIFA boss and expressed Nigeria’s readiness to welcome the FIFA team.

“The FIFA President and Secretary General will arrive in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Sunday, 24th July on a two –day working visit to Nigeria,” Pinnick told thenff.com.

During the 2–day visit, Infantino and Samoura will pay a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa and also meet with Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode before watching the finals of the NFF/ZENITH Bank Future Eagles Championship.

They will also hold meeting with African FA presidents who are expected in Nigeria to join the NFF to receive the FIFA President and attend an evening session with corporate organisations in Lagos.

The Italian-Swiss, who was elected FIFA President at an extraordinary general assembly in Zurich on February 26, 2016 while Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura was appointed FIFA Secretary General at the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City on May 12.

Former Super Eagles Coach, Keshi Loses Wife

keshiThe wife of former Nigerian Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, has died.

Sources confirmed to thenff.com on Thursday that Kate, 54, died on Wednesday night in the United States of America, after a brief illness.

“She was ill for a while now and I’m still in shock of this great loss,” Keshi told Completesportsnigeria.com.

“She is more like a sister to me and was the rock behind me and everything I do. My love for her was at first sight,” he said.

The ‘Big Boss’ revealed that the burial arrangements will be made public in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation was among the first to condole with the former Nigeria skipper and Head Coach.

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, spoke at length with Keshi over the phone on Thursday afternoon, as news of the tragic incident filtered into the public space.

“This is devastating. To lose a spouse is the equivalent of a tragedy. I pray that Almighty God will give you and the children the fortitude to bear this huge loss,” Pinnick was quoted to have told Keshi over the phone.

“Keshi is a Nigerian hero and we mourn deeply with him at this time. This has come like a big blow, but we pray that he receives divine strength to cope with the situation, and we also pray that the Almighty God will grant the departed eternal rest,” Pinnick added.

Golden Eaglets Defeat Argentine Counterparts 2-1

Golden EagletsNigeria’s U-17 side, Golden Eaglets defeated their Argentinean counterparts in a Pre-World Cup friendly at the Argentina Football Association (AFA) Centre in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Victor Osimhen and Funso Bamgboye scored the goals for the Golden Eaglets.

According to the NFF website, few Nigerian fans were present at the match, including Deputy Head of Nigeria’s Mission in Argentina, Mr. Adelanwa Tiwalade.

The home side reportedly kicked off and took the initiative but failed to trouble the Golden Eaglets goalkeeper, Amos Benjamin. However, in the 21st minute, Bamgboye broke free from the right flank and flicked the ball to Osimhen who exchanged one-on-one pass with Chinedu Madueke before striking into the far corner for the curtain raiser.

Bamgboye increased the lead five minutes into the second half when he struck from the edge of the box off a corner kick by Captain Kelechi Nwakali.

Minutes later, the Argentines capitalized on Eaglets’ defensive error to reduce the tally by lobbing the ball over substitute goalkeeper, Udoh Akpan.

Deputy Head of Nigeria’s Mission in Argentina, Mr. Adelanwa Tiwalade said after the match, “Though I’m a layman in terms of football but I was very impressed with our boys because of their discipline and determination throughout the match. They did well and we pray they would even get better in their forthcoming matches.”