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Nigerian Football

Pinnick Overwhelmed By World Citizens’ Greetings

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President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has formally expressed heartfelt appreciation to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the NFF Executive Committee, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the NFF Congress, Members of the Senate Committee on Sports, Members of the House of Reps’ Committee and several other individuals and groups for their support towards his recent election as a Member of the CAF Executive Committee.

The Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions returned to Nigeria few days ago ahead of a special thanksgiving service in Warri this weekend, and to attend to important issues in Nigeria football before heading to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup (starting in The Bahamas in three weeks), from where he will fly to Bahrain for the 67th FIFA Congress early next month.

“I cannot possibly express appreciation to everyone and groups who gave me ample support.

However, I must very specially thank President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (GCON), Senate President Bukola Saraki (CON), the Speaker of the House (Most Honourable Yakubu Dogara, CFR), Sports Minister Solomon Dalung, Chairman and Members of the Senate Committee on Sports, Chairman and Members of the House Committee on Sports and of course, the NFF Congress. Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Obinna Ogba was personally present at the elections in Ethiopia.

“I also want to specially thank the Governors of Delta, Lagos, Edo and Cross River States (Their Excellencies Ifeanyi Okowa, Akinwunmi Ambode, Godwin Obaseki and Ben Ayade, respectively), the Minister of State for Petroleum (Dr. Ibe Kachikwu), the Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Dr. Dakuku Peterside), eminent newspaper columnists, respected sports editors, sports managers, reporters and correspondents and indeed everyone who played a role to see to the actualization of the dream.

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“I want to assure everyone that I harbour no ill –feeling towards anyone who did not outrightly give their support. People have asked me about the members of CAF committees who spoke against my aspiration, and I have replied that they are highly –experienced administrators and we cannot wish away their experience and institutional knowledge.”

Pinnick insists that the landmark feat, which makes him only the third Nigerian in CAF Executive Committee, and the appointment into one of world football’s most important committees, will not becloud his vision and that of the present NFF Board to build a sustainable football culture for Nigeria.

“Now, we have a voice in African football politics, and we can play some role in world football. However, we remain committed to taking Nigeria football to new heights of excellence and we intend to put everything into the qualification campaigns for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

 

“We are also working hard to tackle the issue of funding, by interfacing with Nigeria corporate bodies to convince many more of them to embrace strategic partnership with the Nigeria game.”

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Meanwhile, more congratulatory messages have landed on Pinnick’s desk following the victory in Addis Ababa, the latest coming from the presidents of Egyptian Football Association and the Federation Burkinabe de Football.

In his message, FBF boss, Colonel Sita Sangare wrote: “Following your brilliant election as African member of the executive committee of CAF during the CAF Congress held on the 16th of March in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), I would like, on behalf of the Football Association of Burkina Faso and on my own behalf to send you my warmest congratulations.

“I am very confident that your rich experience will be highly beneficial to the development of African football. I therefore wish you full success in your duty.”

Egypt FA president, Hany Abo Rida, who is a Member of the FIFA Council, wrote: “On behalf of the EFA president, board members and the executive manager, we have the pleasure to send you our best greetings for the confidence of the CAF general assembly and your success at the CAF election as CAF executive committee member.

“This confidence expresses the will of the CAF general assembly, which contributes to develop the level of the game in the African continent and co-operation between CAF and its affiliated federations in order to serve the African football.”

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Finidi deserves our support, says former international, Kingsley Onye

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NFF Confirms Finidi George

Ahead of the first press parley that Super Eagles’ new manager, Finidi George is going to have on Thursday in Lagos, former Nigeria international, Kingsley Onye has canvassed for full support for the new coach.

 To him, the time of politicking and pushing for a particular candidate was over. “It is time for all of us to back the chosen one, Finidi George”, remarked Onye who was a left rearguard player in the 1985 class of Flying Eagles who against all odds, upstaged hosts,Soviet Union to clinch the third place in the then World Youth Championships that is now called the U-20 World Cup.

  “Although I canvassed for Emmanuel Amuneke’s candidature, am still happy that an equally good Finidi George got the job”, he said in a phone conversation from his base in the United Kingdom.

  “The fact that some players complained after Nigeria’s second friendly match in March shows that Finidi is a man of his class and cannot be influenced by players’ sentiments.

  “I believe he will take Nigeria to an enviable height, the same way Amuneke too would have done.”

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 Continuing, Onye who played for Enugu Rangers while he was in the country in the 1980s also remarked that he was on the same page with Victor Ikpeba who has asked that Finidi’s assistants should always back him in team selection  and tactical formations.

 “We should be more than 100 per cent behind the coach. If we do, he will perform wonders. He has his own philosophy which we must allow to flourish. He did it will Enyimba, leading the club to success last season and was at the brink of repeating the success before his appointment as Super Eagles’ coach.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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