Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, has said that he would not resign amid public outcry and flak that have trailed the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon next year.
His uncompromising stance is against the grain that it was under his watch that Nigeria missed two consecutive Africa Cup of Nations finals, a setback that is unprecedented in the nation’s football history.
Following the 1-0 loss to Egypt in Alexandria on Tuesday, the Super Eagles will now miss the plane to Gabon 2017 in same manner they were absent at the event in Equatorial Guinea in 2015.
Pinnick, who briefed Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, shortly after the chartered flight that took the delegation to Alexandria arrived in Abuja, addressed reporters yesterday.
He vowed not to resign, saying he was legally elected by the Nigerian football congress. In addition, Pinnick insisted the executive committee he headed deserves commendation as the country excelled across boards at international football competitions, particularly in youth football.
He said he was not giving excuses but was rather more determined in righting the wrongs that happened by focusing on the Olympic football in Brazil in August.
“I am not going to resign. I don’t think we have done very badly. When you are in a battle field you don’t retreat as whoever comes in will have to begin from where you started: he might run into the same pit. I was elected by the Nigerian football congress and have a mandate for four years. Our template is there to take football forward 100 per cent,” Pinnick declared.
While attributing the loss to Egypt to destiny, Pinnick said the federation would now concentrate on qualifying for the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia in 2018 by liaison with their agents to utilise the two available windows in June by organising friendly matches for the national team.
Pinnick said an expansive consultative forum will also meet Dalung on Tuesday to determine the future of interim coach, Samson Siasia, who handled the team in the two games against Egypt, or decide whether Nigeria should hire a foreign coach on a long term-term basis.
He attributed the misfortunes of football to the doorstep of former President Goodluck Jonathan. The NFF chief said it was the former president who prevailed on the board to reverse its decision not to hire former coach Stephen Keshi for a second spell with Eagles after he failed to qualify Nigeria for AFCON 2015.
While thanking God for the safe trip back home from the reverse fixture in Egypt, Pinnick disclosed that the chartered flight that conveyed the team to Alexandria was packed next to the Egypt Air A320 that was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus.
After the Egyptian authority was notified, a round the clock surveillance was put on the Eagles’ plane before their departure.