NFF President, Amaju Pinnick breezed into the studios of Hotsports television on Tuesday with a message of hope for Nigerian football.
The CAF Executive member who is seeking re-election to the office as Nigeria’s football’s chief executive in what promises to be a keenly contested general elections in Katsina on Thursday, says he is desirous of building a strong football legacy by ensuring that the country is self-reliant through adequate sponsorship, youth football development, and general sustenance of the football culture, going forward.
He also took time to clear the misconceptions over the Super Eagles failure to feature in the last two editions of the African Nations Cup, saying there were extraneous circumstances that made it so.
“As a leader, I take responsibility for all that happened.I don’t want to apportion blames, but I can tell you there were difficult situations that stood in the way of our qualification for the AFCON on those occasions, ” he said
He also listed the gains of playing active roles in CAF and FIFA politics, as it has helped the country’s game, citing the recent successes of Enyimba FC in the CAF Confederation Cup, and the Golden Eaglets’ qualification for the CAF U-17 Nations Cup in Niger.
“I have often been criticised for paying more attention to CAF and FIFA politics, but I tell you, there has never been a better time Nigeria has enjoyed more acceptability on the global scene than now.
“I think its a mighty leap for Nigeria that I am in CAF and FIFA. It should not be seen as an individual thing but something of immense benefit to Nigeria.
Look around you. How many Nigerians do you have on the global space, influencing major decisions that benefit their country? Very few, I tell you. It is therefore in this light we should be encouraged more than being always vilified, ” he added.
Pinnick would also use the opportunity to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his timely intervention in the leadership tussle between him and Chris Giwa that helped in staving off an imminent FIFA ban, saying he acted in the best interests of the country
” I want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention and protection in the matter that almost fetched us a FIFA ban.
What he did will impact hugely on the youth of this country, no doubt, because he has been able to give them hope for a better tomorrow,”
Pinnick is being challenged for the NFF job by immediate past president, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, and current Osun State FA chairman and former Secretary General, NFF, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi