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How Super Eagles forced Pinnick to eat the humble pie

How Super Eagles forced Pinnick to eat the humble pie

Amaju Melvin Pinninck took charge of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in 2014 for a four-year tenure after serving as the chairman of the Delta State Football Association from 2010 to 2014.

During his first term in office, the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) respectively, with the developments coming after the administration preceding his had qualified the country and won the 2013 edition in South Africa.

Nigeria also failed to qualify for the football event of the 2018 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, after crashing out of the U-23 AFCON in Egypt.

After the Eagles second round defeat at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the NFF appointed former coach, Gernot Rohr, with high expectations to exceed the achievement of late Stephen Keshi, who won the third AFCON title for Nigeria.

But Rohr’s only medal for Nigeria was the third place finish at the 2019 African football show piece in Egypt, and a 2014 World Cup qualification, after more than five years in charge of the team, which came to an end in 2021.

Gernot Rohr

On many occasions while in charge, the Franco-German openly stated that home-based players lacked the quality to play in the Eagles. Rohr contributed nothing to the development of Nigerian football, relying mainly on players with dual-nationality to prosecute his assignments.

Nigeria’s outing at the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon was a little better than failure. The Round of 16 defeat in the hands of tournament-strugglers, Tunisia, set the appetite for a must-qualify double-header against the Black Stars of Ghana for the 2022 World Cup.

The Eagles failed to soar over the two legs in Kumasi and Abuja, which was met with strong display of emotions among football stakeholders in the country. Pinnick had won a re-election in office in 2018, and was nursing a third-term ambition, which the FIFA Executive Council member confirmed himself. 

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However, in the aftermath of Eagles failure to qualify for the mundial in Qatar, many, including sport editors, who had earlier before the clashes with Ghana told Pinnick the World Cup ticket was non-negotiable, asked him to step aside.

The NFF president whose tenure ends in June this year, announced on Friday, that he would not be seeking to run for a third time; a position those privy to information from the Glass House were sure would have changed if the Eagles would be making their seventh appearance in the Middle East in November this year.

The 51-year-old rather claimed his family insisted that leading Nigeria’s football over the years was already “taking a toll.”

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