President of the Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick has said he will not resign.
Pinnick’s stance follows calls from some quarters that he and his board members should resign after the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations billed for Gabon.
The NFF boss told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that he briefed the sports minister Solomon Dalung immediately after he arrived in Abuja from Alexandria and that a wider meeting with Dalung has been fixed for Tuesday to chart the way forward.
Those calling on Pinnick to quit say it is embarrassing that Nigeria would miss two consecutive Africa Cup of Nations finals under his watch. The embattled football chief however insists his board rather deserves commendation as the country excelled in other international competitions during his tenure. He said it was unfair to base judgment on one segment alone, saying the Super Eagles played well but lost out on hard luck.
He vowed not to resign insisting he was duly elected by the Nigerian football congress.
He said, “I am not going to resign; I don’t think we have done very badly. When you are in a battlefield 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 democratically elected by the Nigerian football congress and have their mandate for four years. Our template is there to take football forward 100 per cent and this we intend to accomplish.”
Pinnick disclosed the scare involving the chartered flight that conveyed the team to Alexandria. According to him, the plane was packed next to the Egypt Air A320 that was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus. After the Egyptian authorities were notified, a round the clock surveillance was put on the Eagles’ plane before their departure.
The NFF in an earlier statement had apologised to Nigerians. It read, “The NFF, like most Nigerians, are saddened by the Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final competition.
“We see this failure to qualify as an unfortunate turn of events, because it came despite the undoubted efforts of the coaching crew led by coach Samson Siasia and the players led by the captain, Mikel Obi, and the efforts of the NFF leadership who not only supported the technical crew but also provided necessary support regarding comfortable travelling arrangement and accommodation for the team’s home and away matches.”