NFF Focuses On 2018 W’Cup After Nations Cup Ouster | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NFF Focuses On 2018 W’Cup After Nations Cup Ouster

Posted: Mar 31, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Tony Ezimakor, Abuja

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is now focused on how to qualify the Super Eagles for the 2018 World Cup in Russia following the team’s failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Super Eagles 0-1 loss to Pharaohs of Egypt in Alexandria on Tuesday all but ended the team hopes of qualifying for the most prestigious football tournament in Africa. The failure is the second in a row, having fail ed to qualify for the 2015 edition of the tournament.
But Amaju Pinnick, NFF president, said on Wednesday that the focus is now how to ensure that Super Eagles did not miss out of the 2018 World Cup.

“The NFF, like most Nigerians, is saddened by the Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final competition,” said Pinnick, viewing the failure to qualify as an unfortunate turn of events.
“I believe Nigerians should forgive us for us to move on. Failure to reach the Africa Cup of Nations remains a gnawing pain,
“The NFF has now fully shifted its focus to activating its already prepared plan to give the team all the support it needs to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” promising to keep the team busy during the FIFA friendly windows.
The draw for Russia 2018 will be conducted in June with the qualifying tournament to begin in October.
“In preparing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers starting later this year, the NFF will ensure that it utilizes all FIFA windows for international friendlies for the Super Eagles, starting in June with two games against teams of high ranking. The outstanding Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania in September would also serve as a tune –up for the World Cup qualification games.”
Pinnick, however, described calls for him to resign as “very unfair”, insisting he would see through his four-year tenure. Under his leadership, Nigeria has failed to qualify for two consecutive Africa Cup of Nations.
“I have heard calls by some persons asking me to resign but that is very unfair knowing the achievements this board has recorded during my tenure,” he said at a media briefing in Abuja Wednesday.
“We won the Africa Women’s Championship in Namibia, the FIFA U17 World Cup and we also qualified for almost all major competitions during this period.
“I was elected by the congress with four-year tenure and it will be very unfair for anyone to ask for my resignation.”
While tendering a public apology for the country’s ouster from the AFCON, Pinnick said the Super Eagles were “unlucky” to lose in Egypt and that it has “a robust future”.
He equally defended the appointment of former coach Sunday Oliseh, who quit his post a month to the crucial matches against Egypt.
“We have no regrets employing him because he came highly recommended like any other Nigerian and we gave him a four-year plan hoping that he will return our football to glory days,” Pinnick said.
He further said he has met with the country’s sports minister and they have agreed a meeting on Tuesday to address the many problems facing Nigerian football.