Amaju Pinnick, and his swagger!

Amaju Pinnick, and his swagger!

Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the current two – term President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, needs no introduction to Nigerians 

The University of Benin graduate, who was born on December 1 1970, came into national football limelight in September 2014 when he was first elected as President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.Amaju Pinnick, and his swagger!

On September 20, 2018, Pinnick was re-elected as the NFF President. He’s concurrently an Executive Council Member of CAF, and FIFA.

There is no doubt that Amaju Pinnick has done well for himself, and his nation, Nigeria.

He has also within a period of eight years of his tenure transformed into one of Nigeria’s greatest Football Administration exports to the world since the legendary efforts of Amos Adamu, and Etubom Oyo Orok, who died at the age of 86.

However, in recent times, It appears that this Delta – born football administrator seems to be more on the news off the pitch than on it.

If he’s not boasting on how he will mercilessly beat Nigeria’s football perennial rivals, Ghana, in 2022 World Cup Qualifiers in March, 2022, he’s ingeniously advising his erstwhile Portuguese – born journey man friend, Jose Peseiro, to look elsewhere for a Coaching Job rather than hopelessly wait on Nigeria.

In an interview recently with Nation Sport’s Taofeek Babalola, in Yaounde, Cameroon, Amaju Pinnick, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President said that the federation has not made a final decision on the head coach of the Super Eagles.

He stated this against the backdrop of  speculations that the federation had settled for the NFF Technical Director , Augustine Eguavoen and ex- international, Emmanuel Amuneke to lead the Super Eagles.

Eguavoen served as the team’s interim coach following the exit of the former handler Gernot Rohr and led the team to  the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Before Eguavoen appointment, NFF had announced Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro as the head coach to take over the team after the AFCON.

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According to Babalola, Amaju Pinnick said;

“At the moment, we are still harmonizing with ourselves; the NFF and the Sports Ministry. The Technical Committee had their meeting yesterday (Saturday) and they will submit their report – we will look at it and table it at the executive committee by tomorrow (today) and come out with a clear direction on where we are heading to. I have heard and seen a lot of things in the media. What we need to do is just to inject some kind of technical sagacity into that team. I believe once that is done, we should be able to be done and dusted and that is exactly what we are trying to do. With this week’s announcement of the appointment of the new Super Eagles Coaching Crew, Amaju Pinnick, no doubt, reacted sarcastically.
Eguavoen did well  and he provided good leadership in the team. He gave the team freedom to express themselves, but trust me there can be more to it in terms of the way we want to win. Generally, I commended him for what he did with the team. He took the job at short notice and he was able to deliver. He won three games convincingly. The only team in the tournament to do that in the first round.The team we defeated in the first round, Egypt, reached the final. What we need to do now is to just inject some kind of technical sagacity to the team.”

On the status of Jose Peseiro, his erstwhile coaching suitor, the NFF Boss was even more sarcastic.

“The good thing is that we have not officially signed Peseiro, but I am still in talks with him. He is somebody that is very eager, and if you look at Portugal, it is the country that is blessed with good coaches. Cameroon coach is a Portuguese, Egyptian coach, Carlos Quiroz is a Portuguese. The truth is, we will look at the recommendation of the technical committee: I have never worked alone; we allow our committee to function and once they submit their report, the whole world would know our next direction,” Amaju said.

On the two-legged 2022 World Cup Qualifiers against Ghana billed for March, 2022, Pinnick said;

“We are proud of the efforts of the players. They gave their all and tried very hard to win, even when they had a numerical disadvantage. It was just not our day. I want to thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his love, support, and encouragement to the team while they were in the championship. I also praise the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, for his interest and attention to the progress of the team. Losing at this stage is painful, but we take solace in the great spirit with which the team approached its four matches in Cameroon, out of which it won three. The focus and attention will now shift to the FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off against Ghana in March. We want to assure Nigerians that we will prepare even harder for those two matches to get the job done. Having failed in the quest for a fourth continental title, the Super Eagles will have to double up to ensure they make it to Qatar.

On the contrary, the NFF President, while speaking on Channels Television, had said that;

No official agreement was reached between the NFF and José Peseiro. I am still talking to him, and maybe, he has to wait till after the World Cup qualifiers against Ghana. If in the course of his waiting, he gets another job, we wish him well. At the moment, we are still harmonizing with ourselves; the NFF, and the sports ministry. The Technical Committee had their meeting yesterday (Saturday) and they will submit their report.
We will look at it and table it at the executive committee by tomorrow (today) and come out with a clear direction on where we are heading to. I have heard and seen a lot of things in the media. What we need to do is just to inject some kind of technical sagacity into that team. I believe once that is done, we should be able to be done and dusted and that is exactly what we are trying to do.”

Amaju Pinnick’s statement above on the Portuguese Coach is indeed a big contrast to the latest statement released by NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi. Sanusi had in the NFF release on Monday, February 7,2021, said;

“We acknowledge and appreciate the interest that Mr Jose Peseiro has shown in Nigeria Football during our very cordial discussions and have absolutely no doubt about his capacity. We believe that perhaps in the future, there could be an opportunity to work with him. However, in view of the positive performance of the Super Eagles at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations which has given hope to Nigerians and boosted our confidence in the present coaching crew to qualify us for the World Cup in Qatar, we have decided to accept the recommendation of the Technical and Development Committee to retain the Eguavoen-led coaching crew and strengthen it with the addition of Emmanuel Amuneke.”

I believe that we are yet to see the end of Melvin Amaju Pinnick, and his Swagger.

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About the Author

Obum Akawor
A retired Senior Civil Servant and sports journalist. A Fellow, Chartered Institute of Administration, FCAI.

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