Pinnick Moves to Bury the Hatchet, Says Keshi Remains a Hero

Newly elected president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick says building an environment of peace and stability are his watchwords in his bid to propel the nation to greater heights in the next four years.

Nigeria football look to have heaved a sigh of relief from the administrative hullabaloo which beclouded its progress since it managed to advance into the round of 16 of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, but deem it rather brash to have forgotten its accompanying damages and the need for a better governance in the present dispensation.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick.
First, Nigeria internationals boycotted training as a means to press home their demands for payment of wages on the eve of the nation’s ouster to France in the second round of the World Cup in Brazil, after which Fifa suspended the African champions following an unlawful court injunction for the removal of ex-NFF President Aminu Maigari. Further threats of impending bans and executive congresses parading juggernauts keen on fulfilling personal ambitions instead of complying with status-quo are just but a brief highlight of Nigeria football’s road to recovery.

Repairing Nigerian Football is a major task… Amaju Melvin Pinnick.

And when the NFF finally decided to dance to Fifa’s recommendations for an “all-inclusive” poll in line with the “rule of law”, Pinnick won by two-third of votes in a run-off elections in Warri- yet amidst accusations of irregularities.

Saddled with the responsibility of mending broken fences, the new FA chief refuses to claim anonymity to the challenges ahead.

“I came at a time when there is so much turbulence, bickering, animosity, hatred in the system. So its not going to be something very rosy or easy, but prayerfully, tactfully we are going to do what we want to do,” Pinnick told Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

He confirmed that the new administration has set off on a healthy ground noting that notable personnel in the football hierarchy have moved to bury the era of politics of exclusion with the past.

NFF has, in its past, been disappointed by Co-operate sponsors who ought to be the back-bone of football in the country. Just over a month to the start of the World Cup in the summer, the Nigeria FA accused its major sponsor Globacom Nigeria Limited of backtracking on their contractual terms by refusing to remit nearly two years of sponsorship fee.

Pinnick also noted the importance of building trust among corporate organisations, adding: “We (NFF) are going to create a platform for them to see that we are very serious.”

NFF will help Keshi if he will stay

Pinnick had before now said national team coach “(Stephen) Keshi has reached his limit and needs to build his capacity.”

Talks on the renewal of the 52-year-coach’s contract was suspended pending the conclusion of the NFF executive congress.

The new NFF Executive Committee (ExCo) board are very much expected to foster a fresh path- in the shortest possible while- for the leadership of the Super Eagles, who presently are walking a tightrope in qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Pinnick moreover concedes that the future of coach Stephen Keshi depends on recommendations by the NFF technical committee.

“I believe in due diligence, going through a due process. The technical department will come up with a comprehensive report about Keshi, submit it to the technical committee, they look at it and give it to the board,” he said.

“The board will now make a decision based on those reports, but I can assure you we are not going to do anything that is against the interest of Nigerians.”

He would rather not disclose more than necessary on the future of Keshi with the Super Eagles, but hinted that “if Keshi is going to stay we will help him”.

The NFF president reiterates that the coach, nonetheless, need be revered as a national hero after guiding the Eagles to a third Afcon title last year, becoming only the second person, along with Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary, to have won the title both as a player and as a coach.

Pinnick said: “Keshi is a hero and must be accorded his respect.

(Additional content from Channels TV Repairing Nigerian Football Is A Major Task – Pinnick used in this report)

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