Repeated calls by football-loving Nigerians for Amaju Pinnick to resign as President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
This is as Pinnick convened and presided over NFF executive committee meeting one week after the surprise ouster of Nigeria’s Super Eagles from the 2022 World Cup scheduled for Qatar.
Shortly after the disastrous non-qualification from the mundial, Nigerians including sports editors, ex-internationals, pundits among other stakeholders had harmoniously demanded immediate Pinnick’s and other board members’ resignation.
Rather, the NFF board went to meet on Tuesday, and subsequently issued a communique.
The communique reads, “The Executive Committee tendered unreserved apology to the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria for the inability of the Super Eagles to win a ticket to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. It praised the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for his personal presence and apologised that the team faltered in the quest for a ticket to Qatar.2) For his steadfastness, exemplary leadership and warm relationship with the NFF since assuming office and especially for the FIFA World Cup playoff matches, the Committee commended, appreciated and applauded the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare.
“The Committee further commended the Honourable Minister for his savvy in convening the meeting held among the Presidency, Sports Ministry and NFF on Monday, 4th March 2022 to review the unfortunate outcome of the match with Ghana and agree concrete steps on how to reinvigorate the Super Eagles and indeed Nigeria Football going forward. It noted that the meeting was very cordial, as well as established and appreciated the fact that all that was needed to be done and/or provided the team and the technical crew to ensure a positive outcome on the pitch against Ghana was delivered, and in a most professional manner. In addition, unique motivational strategy was put in place to spur the coaches and the players, such as offering the technical crew a two-and-half year contract. The standard agreement NFF had in place with the players that they will share 35% of the qualifying bonus Nigeria will earn by participating at the Qatar 2022 World Cup was also emphasised.
“The Executive Committee regretted the death of Dr Joseph Kabungo, appointed as the FIFA Doping Officer for the Nigeria/Ghana FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Playoff match in Abuja on 29th March 2022. It reiterated that Dr Kabungo died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest, as attested to by the autopsy report, and disclosed that his body had been flown to Zambia for final rites accompanied by his family members who were flown to Nigeria two days after the unfortunate incident. It prayed that God grants the soul of Dr Kabungo eternal rest and for fortitude for his family and the Zambia Football Family to bear the big loss. The Committee equally commended the General Secretary for diligence and proficiency in handling issues surrounding the tragic development and also with regards to the match organization.
“After exhaustive deliberations, introspection and admission that the outpouring of emotions by fans and stakeholders over the FIFA World Cup miss was legitimate, the Executive Committee urged caution and patience, and assured that in tandem with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, decisive steps will be taken in the next few days to reposition Nigeria Football in several areas, including the National Teams. It also disclosed that in line with the statutes, roadmap for new elections into the NFF Board will be designed at the Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the NFF once the ex parte injunction suspending the Congress from meeting is vacated. It can be recalled that the AGA to set the roadmap for the next NFF election cycle was statutorily scheduled to hold on 17th December, 2021 in Lagos but an ex parte court order was served on the NFF from a Federal High Court in Bayelsa State to stop the meeting. The NFF had since January 2022 approached the court to vacate the order and the next sitting is scheduled for 26th April 2022. The committee has now proposed June 2022 for the AGA to statutorily set the roadmap for the NFF elective congress provided the order is vacated accordingly.
“The Executive Committee mandated its Technical and Development Sub-Committee to, within the next 5 days, make recommendations to the Executive Committee on coaching crews for the Super Eagles, the CHAN team, the U20 Boys (Flying Eagles) and the U17 Boys (Golden Eaglets) ahead of upcoming assignments. This is to ensure preparations for the next qualifying tournaments and championships commence in earnest.
“The Committee hailed the Super Falcons for its qualification for the 12th edition of the Women Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Morocco in the month of July, and promised to provide the team ample support for adequate preparation for the Championship, aware that the event also serves as qualifying tournament for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals. The Super Falcons’ contingent departed Nigeria on Tuesday night for Canada for a two-match tour with that country’s Women’s National Team, and will camp in Morocco for the African Championship.
“The Executive Committee also commended the U20 Women National Team, Falconets, for its qualification for this year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup taking place in Costa Rica in the month of August, and charged the U17 girls, Flamingos to put in the hard work necessary to win a ticket to this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup taking place in India in the month of October.