World Cup: We Are Grateful To All Nigerians – NFF Boss
Basking in the euphoria of Nigeria securing the first Africa ticket for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick on Monday expressed the gratitude of the Federation and that of the Nigerian Football family to the Presidency and various other individuals and groups who contributed to the Super Eagles’ qualification for the mundial.
The Super Eagles pipped hard –fighting Zambia 1-0 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Saturday to become the first African team to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals. But Pinnick noted the Eagles would not have been able to make light work of the so –called Group of Death without the support of so many people and institutions.
Pinnick praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his keen love and support for the team, while also commending Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Sports Minister Solomon Dalung and the sports committees of the National Assembly.
“Mr. President was always there for the team and for the NFF; he supported us not only by providing whatever we asked for but also by keenly following the progress of the team. We remain eternally grateful to him.
“The Vice President came to see the team at training session during one of the qualifying matches and showed immense interest in the team’s welfare. The Senate President personally attended the matches against Algeria and Zambia and sent representatives to the other qualifying matches.
“The Sports Minister? He was a pillar for the team and the NFF during the qualifying series. Apart from always taking up the case of NFF and the team at the Presidency whenever we needed funds for the assignment, he was personally present at all the qualifying matches we played in the group phase.”
The Eagles played all their home matches in the group phase in Uyo, and the NFF supremo spared no encomium for Governor Udom Emmanuel and the Government and good people of Akwa Ibom State.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel did tremendously well. He never wavered in his belief that the Eagles would make it. The Government and good people of Akwa Ibom State showed warmth and commendable hospitality throughout.
“We also commend the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Sports Committee and the House Sports Committee for their support and encouragement.”
The NFF President equally lauded the hard work that the Members of NFF Executive Committee and the NFF Management and Staff did to ensure a smooth run of the campaign.
“The Members of the NFF Executive Committee, my colleagues, were marvelous. I doff my hat for them, for their energy and enthusiasm. The NFF Management and Staff led by Dr. Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary) also did a wonderful job. Everyone put themselves at the disposal of the Federation for any duty assigned to them, and they did their work well.
“We cannot probably mention the names of all those who helped, but we give kudos to our partners and sponsors, and all stakeholders of Nigerian Football, indeed every Nigerian who played a role in this success.”
Captain Mikel John Obi has reiterated his boundless joy at the Super Eagles’ qualification for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals.
“This is really a dream come true. The team and myself, we worked very hard for this believing we could do it, and we are over the moon that our aspiration has been met.
“I want to commend everyone who has been involved in this: the players, the coaches, the backroom staff, the NFF. It was not easy but we knew from the beginning that we would have to fight hard for every point and we did.”
The former Chelsea FC of England midfielder could have been going to his fourth World Cup finals, if Nigeria had not narrowly (head-to-head principle) missed the 2006 finals in Germany and he had not been injured just before the 2010 finals in South Africa.
“There is nothing one can do about that; everything comes in God’s time. I am grateful to God for this ticket and we will go to Russia and give our very best.”