By Duro Ikhazuagbe
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who turns 50 years old today has restated his resolve not to seek a third term in charge of the country’s football when his current tenure expires in two years time.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday, the Delta-born football administrator said he made that decision before he won his second term mandate in Katsina in 2018.
“No way! I made my decision even before earning the second mandate on 20th September 2018. I will not be running for the NFF Presidency again. I want to thank the Members of the Congress, my colleagues on the Executive Committee, Management and Staff, and stakeholders of the game for their support. I will be stepping off in 2022 to give another person the opportunity to lead Nigeria Football. That is the truth,” observed Pinnick who is a CAF executive committee member.
On his decision to shelve the idea of contesting the CAF presidency for a seat in the FIFA Council, Pinnick said it was the result of his wide consultations before embarking on the journey.
“I have consulted wide and this is the route I feel comfortable to take for now. Membership of the FIFA Council also confers a lot of responsibility on one and you have the opportunity to make crucial contributions to the running of world football,” stress Pinnick who was also First Vice President of CAF until the last AFCON final in Egypt last year.
Pinnick however hinted that he may still take a shot at the topmost position in African football in the future.
“Things may change in a couple of years, but for now, I am going for the FIFA Council based on the consultations I have had and the plan that is on ground.”
He also revealed that Nigeria is throwing her weight behind the candidature of South African billionaire, Dr Patrice Motsepe, to take over from Ahmad who has been slammed with five years ban by FIFA for various infractions that bothers on ethics violations.
“For the CAF Presidency, we are supporting the aspiration of Dr Patrice Motsepe of South Africa. We believe he has the clout, means and organizational savvy to take CAF from its present low level to a place of regard and respect among the six confederations of FIFA,” the NFF Chief noted.
Pinnick insisted that the lessons his board and Super Eagles players and coaches have learnt from the poor outings against Sierra Leone in the back-to-back fixtures in the AFCON 2022 qualifiers is never to take any country for granted in African football.
“The lessons we learnt against Sierra Leone came at the right time, and will stand us in good stead in the 2022 World Cup qualifying series.
“If we had thrashed the Leone Stars, there would have been the temptation to take Liberia, Cape Verde and Central Africa Republic for granted in the World Cup qualifiers.
“Now, we know we cannot do anything like that. Every game, from the first one, must be approached with the best legs, mind and best attitude. Each of the six qualifying matches will be ‘war’ and the knock-out games will be ‘greater war’”
While expressing his disappointment with the poor performance of teams representing the country in CAF competitions last weekend, Pinnick singled out Enyimba for plaudits for securing a vital away win in Burkina Faso.
“My challenge to Rivers United, Plateau United and Kano Pillars is to turn things around in the return legs and qualify for the next rounds of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup competitions”.
As Pinnick celebrates his 50th birthday today, he praised God for the milestones he has achieved so far.
“I give all glory to God Almighty. I am very happy about my journey, which has been mainly about football and business. I am fulfilled with the tremendous success I have achieved in both, and I pray that God will continue to guide my path so that I can accomplish even greater things in all areas.
“There is nothing that I have achieved of my own power, strength, wisdom or intellect. Everything has been down to God Almighty.”