Thursday, 31 March 2016

NFF releases statement , with focus on 2018 World Cup in Russia

NFF President- Amaju Pinnick
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has released a statement following the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The NFF, are equally saddened by the Super Eagles’ failure to deliver on qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final competition, following a 1 – 0 defeat to the seven-time African champions Pharaohs of Egypt in Alexandria on Tuesday March 29, 2016.

Read the full statement below 

We see this failure to qualify as an unfortunate turn of events, because it came despite the undoubted efforts of the coaching crew led by Coach Samson Siasia and the players led by the captain, Mikel Obi, and the efforts of the NFF leadership who not only supported the technical crew but also provided necessary support regarding comfortable traveling arrangement and accommodation for the team’s home and away matches.

Football being the paramount national pastime in our dear country, we understand and share the disappointment in the land. But we crave the indulgence of all to continue to support the team and the NFF going forward as we continue to nurture and navigate a painful but positive path towards a glorious future for Nigeria football.

It is rather unfortunate that Chad, one of the teams in the qualification group, suddenly pulled out of the race, leaving only three teams left in the group, and only the winner of the the group guaranteed qualification. This appeared to have taken away our worst-case scenario of qualification. However, our legal unit is looking at the propriety of changing the rules midstream. 

In the next one week, the Technical and Development Committee will meet to make recommendations to the NFF Board on the way forward for the Super Eagles, but already, we can disclose that 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, while continuing to build a sustainable football culture for Nigeria in order to make Nigerian football once more a force to be reckoned with.

 Failure to reach the Africa Cup of Nations remains a gnawing pain, but we have decided to take a number of positives from the unsuccessful campaign and in particular the two matches against Egypt. The development of a new and youthful team playing swashbuckling, strong, resolute and exciting kind of football Nigeria has been known for was a soothing balm even in the face of the challenging campaign.

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. 

We want to use this medium to commend the efforts of Samson Siasia and Emmanuel Amuneke, who took very seriously and professionally the job of preparing the Super Eagles for the matches, with only three weeks to do the job. They have shown extraordinary courage and purposefulness, and the NFF will never forget their contributions to Nigeria football. As it is, Nigeria is one of only three teams that will represent Africa at this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, having won the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal in December 2015. The NFF will give Coach Siasia all the support to excel at the games, by winning the football gold. 

We will also continue to support the U-20 men squad, managed by Amuneke, in order to ensure the team’s qualification for the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations and the U-20 World Cup, as well as the U-17 boys for the 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations and the U-17 World Cup, for which we are the defending champions. GET for FREE: Get the latest sports news on Naij Sports We are also working on maximum support for the women’s national teams ahead of the African Women Cup of Nations, the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup-all taking place this year. 

Our sincere appreciation goes to the federal government for continued support for Nigeria football, and our sponsors for the invaluable role they play in the nation’s football development. We particularly commend the Minister of Youth and Sports and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, for their very kind gesture and solid support for the Super Eagles in both matches against Egypt, and indeed other matches before these. 

The NFF Board remains united and resolute in its commitment to building a sustainable football culture for our dear country, by employing resources at its disposal diligently, purposefully and responsibly. Meanwhile, Nigeria will not play at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon as the Super Eagles lost 1 – 0 to the Pharaohs in the second-leg of the qualifiers against Egypt, following a strike by Ramadan Sobhy. With the result, Egypt are now on 7 points with Nigeria on 2, with just one game left against Tanzania since Chad Republic pulled-out of the qualifiers citing financial constraints.


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