Following the resolution of the crisis that threatened the country’s membership of the international football community, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed it would now focus on youth development as well as the forthcoming continental championships.
Nigeria on Monday escaped FIFA hammer for the government’s interference in the administration of football following the Presidency’s assurance that it would abide by the international protocol guiding the game.
And in response to the new lease of life given the country’s game, NFF President, Melvin Amaju Pinnick yesterday pledged that the federation would double its efforts to meet the aspirations of the country’s football fans.
In a statement yesterday, Pinnick said NFF’s immediate focus would be on the Super Eagles’ 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles on September 7, and the home-and-away matches against Libya in October and another away fixture against South Africa in November.
He added: “We will approach the matches one game at a time. Our objective is not only to qualify for the finals, but for the Super Eagles to also make a meaningful impact at the finals in Cameroun in the summer of next year.”
Pinnick also revealed that the federation would pay close attention to the upcoming Women Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana in November, as well as the 2019 U20 and U17 Africa Cup of Nations championships billed for Niger Republic and Tanzania respectively.
“Our vision, as we have espoused from Day One, is to build a sustainable football culture for our dear nation. To do that, youth development is key.
That is what we are trying to do with the U15 squad which recently reached the final of the African Youth Games in Algeria, and which will form the bulk of the next U17 National Team.”
On the September 20 NFF elections billed for Katsina, Pinnick affirmed that the resolutions of the Congress at the federation’s extraordinary general assembly of August 2 in Benin City still stood, adding, “the door remains open for those aggrieved members of the football family, who are ready to abide by extant football rules and regulations, as they can still pick up forms for the elections.
“We have learnt so much during this crisis. We are more determined to run an inclusive administration where everyone can have a sense of belonging, as we work tenaciously and diligently towards taking Nigerian Football to new heights of excellence.”