By John Egbokhan
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) plans to make the Super Eagles its focus, its president, Amaju Pinnick has said.
Speaking against the backdrop of the failure of the Golden Eaglets to qualify for next year’s African U-17 Nations Cup, Pinnick said the loss to Niger, at the weekend in Niamey, did not represent a failure, as the boys were genuine players below the age of 17, noting that the future was bright for them.
On the present priority of the federation, Pinnick said the Super Eagles would get the utmost focus henceforth.
He added that the federation would work assiduously to ensure the Eagles qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which to him, would act as a catalyst, to galvanise Nigerian football to the forefront of international limelight.
“Our focus would be the Super Eagles. They are the leading brand of Nigerian football and if they get it right, it will have a roll-on effect on other teams. Eagles are the head of the pyramid and their success will impact on the success or otherwise of the national teams.
“We will not rest on our oars to ensure the smooth qualification of the Eagles for the Russia 2018 World Cup, this we promise Nigerians”, added Pinnick.
Two of Nigeria’s youth teams, the Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets will not be flying the country’s flags at their respective continental championships next year but in a telephone interview with Sports Vanguard, Pinnick played down the situation, stating that the teams would come out stronger and better in the nearest future.
Stressing that both teams were strictly developmental, Pinnick said the NFF was sowing the seed of progress and sustainable development, rather than the short-term win at all-cost syndrome.
Pinnick said: “The NFF does not see the failure of the Eaglets to qualify for the next continental championship as a failure because those players are talented and would blossom to become great in the nearest future. They are boys who would form the next Flying Eagles team because they are young and of the specific catchment age”.
Pinnick added that Nigeria did not have anything to prove as the age-grade level, as the Eaglets have won the trophy on five occasions, noting that what was important was transition, which the team were yet to achieve.
“We are serial winners of the FIFA U-17 World Cup but have not been able to transfer that glory to the Flying Eagles, to the Olympic Team and Super Eagles. That is the missing link which we are addressing and which we are going to get right with what has happened to the Eaglets because those boys are genuinely talented and would blossom to stardom in two years time with the Flying Eagles”, said the former Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission.