Category Archives: Football

Re-Elected Pinnick Pays Glowing Tribute to President Buhari

…Promises greater focus on youth programs, says football’s winner…Maigari ‘proud of what Pinnick has achieved’

An overwhelming majority of the Congress of Nigerian Football on Thursday in the city of Katsina re-elected incumbent Amaju Melvin Pinnick for a second term as President of the Nigeria Football Federation, with the history – maker immediately paying glowing tributes to President Muhammadu Buhari and top officials of the Federal Government for their huge efforts in sustaining association football in Nigeria.

Pledging to focus even harder on youth development programs in his second tenure, Pinnick, who is also the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, said there is no victor and no vanquished in the race as football remained the ultimate winner.

In his acceptance speech, Pinnick specifically thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Chief of Staff to the President, the DG, Department of State Services and the Inspector General of Police for their tremendous support for the board.

Taiwo Ogunjobi (right) embraces Pinnick

“We respectfully ask for more support as we start a new tenure, during which we aim to consolidate on our vision of building a sustainable football culture for our dear country, and continue the great march towards ensuring financial independence for the NFF.

“We owe this country a lot, and we are committed to working hard to give back so much to it. We intend to set up a reconciliation team in a few days to reach out to aggrieved members of the football family with a view to bringing everyone under one umbrella for the purpose of a united front in the pursuit of the greater good for Nigerian Football.”

The NFF supremo also thanked the Governors of Delta and Edo States for their understanding and support, as well as players and officials of the various National Teams for their efforts in doing Nigeria proud at all times.

A festival atmosphere reigned in the ‘Home of Hospitality’ as the full machinery of government was in motion to watch over the big occasion of the NFF 2018 Elective Congress, alongside the presence of observers from world football –governing body, FIFA and the Confederation of African Football.

At the opening ceremony, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State poured encomiums on the NFF administration led by Pinnick for its major strides over the past four years, noting trophies won in the FIFA U17 World Cup, Women Africa Cup of Nations, the U23 and U20 Africa Cup of Nations, Olympic football bronze and the recent WAFU U17 Cup triumph in Niger Republic. He praised the aggressive marketing drive of the administration that has galvanized a steady move towards financial independence, while pledging that the Government of Katsina State will continue to invest in football development because of the game’s virtues of youth empowerment and meaningful engagement.

During the polls, which was conducted by the NFF Electoral Committee put in place by the NFF Congress at last year’s General Assembly in Jos, Plateau State on 19th October 2017, Pinnick swept aside three other contestants, polling 34 votes to second–placed Aminu Maigari’s 8, with former international Taiwo Ogunjobi getting only 2 votes. There was none for club owner Chinedu Okoye.

In the event, Pinnick became the first man since Father Dennis Slattery (of blessed memory) in 1957 to be elected back-to-back to one of the hottest seats in world football.

Second–placed Maigari, the immediate past occupier of the office, warmly embraced Pinnick after the vote, saying: “The vote has come and gone, and football is the winner. The focus is football development. I bear no grudge and I must say that I am indeed delighted by the strides that Amaju Pinnick has taken since taking over from me four years ago. He is like a son and I am proud of him.”

Incumbent Seyi Akinwunmi was even more emphatic in retaining his seat, bagging 41 of the votes to challenger Sunday Dele-Ajayi’s 2. One vote was deemed invalid.

In other votes, incumbent Ibrahim Musa Gusau retained his seat as Chairman of Chairmen on the Board, polling 42 of 44 votes, following the withdrawal of Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah on the floor of the election.

Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande retained their seats on the board, after a nerve–jangling contest that went to three rounds. Chairman of Kwara State Football Association, Busari Ishola was eliminated in the first round after polling only 10 votes, leaving Yusuf and Fresh to vie in the second. Fresh edged it 22-21, and Ishola was then re-instated to challenge Yahaya-Kwande for the remaining slot from North Central. In the event, Yahaya-Kwande won by 28 votes to 14.

Emmanuel Ibah defeated Oswald Atuake 28 votes to 15 to win the remaining slot from the South South (following Pinnick’s re-election), while Ganiyu Majekodunmi and Sharif Rabiu Inuwa were unopposed for the South West and North West slots.

Three candidates slugged it out in the South East, with Enyimba FC chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu winning the lone slot available (as Chidi Ofo Okenwa still has a seat as Chairman of the Nigeria National League). Anyansi-Agwu polled 32 votes, to nearest challenger Emmanuel Ochiagha’s 8. Jude Obikwelu and Pastor Emeka Inyama, who withdrew from the contest on the floor of the election, still got two votes and one vote respectfully.

Aminu Maigari (right) embraces Pinnick. Watching is former NFF President Dominic Oneya

FIFA observers Luca Piazza and Solomon Mudege, and CAF observer Sita Sangare witnessed both the opening ceremony and the entire Elective Congress proper.

Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Barrister Muhammed Sani Katu afterwards swore in the new Board.

Next up for Pinnick is his formal inauguration as the 1st Vice President of CAF, at the body’s Extraordinary General Assembly in Egypt on Sunday, 30th September.

NEW NFF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Amaju Pinnick – President

Seyi Akinwnumi – 1st Vice President

Shehu Dikko – 2nd Vice President

Ibrahim Musa Gusau – Member

Ahmed Yusuf Fresh – Member

Felix Anyansi-Agwu – Member

Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande – Member

Babagana Kalli – Member

Sharif Rabiu Inuwa – Member

Chidi Ofo Okenwa – Member

Aisha Falode – Member

Mohammed Alkali – Member

Musa Duhu – Member

Ganiyu Majekodunmi – Member

Emmanuel Ibah – Member

Mohammed Sanusi – Secretary

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Bet9ja Partners 2018 Lagos SWAN Cup

Foremost betting company Bet9ja has been announced as sponsor of the 2018 Lagos SWAN Cup competition.

According to the Brands and Communications Manager of Bet9ja Tunji Mesh, their decision to partner the Lagos Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria was borne out of the association’s role in sports development in Nigeria.

At a press parley organized on Tuesday at the Lagos SWAN Secretariat, Bet9ja announced a whooping sum of 5 million naira for the 2018 edition of the competition geared at foisting bonds between members of the association.

“As partners in progress we have a duty to ensure that the SWAN members enjoy sound health by keeping fit through the competition and also have fun.

“This is in furtherance of our commitment to healthy living and to support sports writers to practice what they preach every day,” Mesh said.

He assured that Bet9ja would give every financial and material support to SWAN to sustain the competition.

At the brief ceremony to unveil the Bet9ja as sponsor of the Lagos SWAN Cup, the Chairman of Lagos SWAN, Debo Osundun commended the betting company for partnering with the noble association.

“We are delighted that Bet9ja has decided to partner Lagos State SWAN by taking up this sponsorship. This is a milestone for Bet9ja and SWAN and we are determined to make the partnership work.”

Meanwhile, the Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi who was present at the event lauded the Lagos Chapter for their vibrancy while describing them as a key stakeholder in the sports sector.

The Vice Chairman of Lagos State Football Association, Alhaji Tade Azeez who accompanied Akinwunmi to the event promised N 250,000 while Tayo Popoola, Chairman, Nigerian Association of Women in Sports (NAWISS) Lagos Chapter also made a pledge of N100,000 naira to the event starting on 28th of September.

Lagos SWAN Unveils Bet9ja as Title Sponsors for Lagos SWAN Cup 2018

Foremost betting company Bet9ja has taken over the sponsorship of the Lagos state Sports Writers Association of Nigeria annual SWAN cup competition.

According to the Brands and Communications Manager of Bet9ja Tunji Mesh,” We have decided to take over the sponsorship of the Lagos State SWAN cup in recognition of the crucial role of the body in sports development.

Debo Oshundun, Chairman Lagos SWAN

Moreover as partners in progress we have a duty to ensure that the SWAN members enjoy sound health by keeping fit through the competition and also have fun.

This is in furtherance of our commitment to healthy living and to support sports writers to practice what they preach every day.”

Mesh assured that Bet9ja would give every financial and material support to SWAN to sustain the competition.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Lagos State SWAN, Mr Debo Oshundun has commended the betting company for taking up the sponsorship of Lagos SWAN Cup.

“We are delighted that Bet9ja has decided to partner with Lagos State SWAN by taking up this sponsorship.

This is a milestone for Bet9ja and SWAN and we are determined to make the partnership work,” Oshundun said.

He, however, said that a press conference to herald the competition and the sponsorship package would take place on Tuesday, Sept. 18, Time is 11am at the Lagos SWAN media centre, National Stadium Lagos.

FIFA, CAF Name Observers To NFF Elections 2018

World football–ruling body, FIFA on Monday named Messrs Luca Piazza and Solomon Mudege as its Observers to Thursday’s elections into the Nigeria Football Federation Executive Committee 2018-2022.

Mudege is FIFA’s Senior Manager for Development Programmes (Africa) while Piazza is a senior official in the FIFA President’s office.

Also on Monday, the Confederation of African Football, through a letter addressed to the NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and signed by CAF Secretary General, Amr Fahmy, designated a Member of its Executive Committee, Mr. Sita Sangare, as its Observer to the big event. Sangare, an Army Colonel, is also President of the Burkina Faso Football Federation.

The city of Katsina is already bubbling for the much–anticipated polls with the arrival on Monday of an advance team from the NFF Secretariat.

The NFF Electoral Committee put in place by the NFF Congress at the 2017 Annual General Assembly in Jos, Plateau State, which is headed by Barr. Muhammed Sani Katu, will conduct the polls.

The Committee has already cleared incumbent Amaju Melvin Pinnick, former Nigeria international and one –time NFF Secretary General Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, former NFF President Aminu Maigari and Mr. Chinedu Okoye to contest for the Presidency.

Incumbent Seyi Akinwunmi will vie with Sunday Dele-Ajayi for the 1st Vice President’s position, while Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah will oppose incumbent Ibrahim Musa Gusau for the slot of Chairman of Chairmen.

A total of 15 other persons will battle for the remaining eight available positions on the Executive Committee.

All 44 Members of the Nigeria Football Federation Congress will cast their votes on Thursday. A number of the voters will arrive in Katsina on Tuesday.

AITEO Cup Round of 32: Go Round FC Set for Supreme Court Battle

Coach of Go Round FC, Ngozi Elechi has lined up his top players to do battle against lower League side, Supreme Court FC in the AITEO Cup Round of 32 fixture on Sunday in Akure.

After a win over Dan Masari FC in Abuja, via Walk/Over decision, Elechi is taking no chances against Supreme Court.

He has traveled with goalkeepers, Stanley Nwabali, George Ameh, and Victor Obiowo while Chinonso Udeh, George Vincent, Ebuka Akodundu and Chile Azu are in Akure for the game.

Top scorers, Okon Otop, Chidi Nwachukwu and Adeseun Adelani are in Akure in the absence of Shadrack Oghali who is currently out of the team.

This is the second time ever that Go Round FC will be playing in the Federation Cup as well as the Round of 32.

Elechi insists he is fielding a strong team to go past the Round of 32 and even further.

“We definitely need to go beyond the Round of 32 and there is confidence on the part of the boys that we can go far?” Elechi said.

“Our target is really the semi finals or final. Definitely we we are thinking of going beyond the Round of 16.”

The only other time go Round FC played in the Federation Cup was in 2016 when the team beat Yobe Stars 3-1 in Makurdi in the Round of 64 then lost to Nasarawa United 1-0 in Enugu in the Round of 32.

Go Round FC’s Chidi Nwachukwu (R)

Go Round FC team in Akure

Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabali, Victor Obiowo, Goerge Ameh

Defenders: Bala Oloyade, Chinonso Udeh, George Vincent, Kamaru Ogunjobi, Ebuka Akobundu, Chile Azu, Chris Kpekpe

Midfielders: Reuben,Maurice Chukwu, Chinonye Chinda, Nelson Esor, Stanley Worlu

Attackers: Okon Otop. Adeseun Adelani, Junrio Ogar, Chidi Nwachukwu

Pinnick, Maigari, Ogunjobi Battle For NFF Presidency

The coast is now clear with regards to the 20th September elections into the NFF Executive Committee 2018-2022, following the official release of the list of candidates for the polls by the NFF Electoral Committee on Friday.

Four persons are battling for the presidency, including incumbent Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who is also the 1st Vice President of CAF, Member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions and President of AFCON.

Pinnick, a former Chairman of the Delta State Football Association and Executive Chairman of the Delta State Commission, is the highest–placed Nigerian ever in football’s boardroom globally, and has a very useful cordial relationship with world football’s top hierarchy. His Board also holds the ace of a blossoming positive appreciation by Corporate Nigeria that has galvanised considerable private sector funding of NFF’s activities.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick

There is also Alhaji Aminu Maigari, immediate past President of NFF, who was for several years Chairman of the Bauchi State Football Association and also headed the Bauchi sub–seat for the FIFA U17 World Cup that Nigeria hosted nine years ago.

Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, former Nigeria international defender, also has his hat in the ring. Ogunjobi captained and administered one of Nigeria’s traditional powerhouse clubs, Shooting Stars of Ibadan, served as Secretary General of then Nigeria Football Association (2002-2005) and was Member of the NFF Executive Committee 2006-2010. He is presently Chairman of the Osun State Football Association.

There is also Mr. Chinedu Okoye, proprietor of amateur league club, Bimo FC.

For the 1st Vice President’s position, there are two candidates. The incumbent, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, whose stock has risen steeply as a result of his passion, commitment and investment in youth football development and charity, slugs it out with another South West chieftain, Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi.

Incumbent Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau will battle club proprietor, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah for the slot of Chairman of Chairmen on the board.

For other positions on the Executive Committee, Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, a Member of the present Board, is the only candidate from the North West.

Seyi Akinwunmi 1st Vice-President NFF

The battle in the North Central has been somewhat narrowed with the withdrawal of FCT FA chairman Musa Talle. However, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and Honourable Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, ranking Members of the Board, have to contend with Alhaji Busari Ishola, chairman of Kwara State FA.

Similarly, incumbents Babagana Kalli and Musa Duhu from the North East have to contend with Farouk Yarma Adamu.

In the South East, Hon. Chidi Ofor Okenwa (presently Chairman of the Nigeria National League), will vie with Enyimba FC chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu (ranking Member of Board); Barrister Jude Obikwelu (Vice Chairman, Anambra State FA); Sir Emmanuel Ochiagha (Vice Chairman, Imo State FA) and; High Chief Emeka Inyama (former Chairman of the NNL and former Chairman of NFF Marketing and Sponsorship, and also Chairman of NPFL side Abia Warriors).

From the South West, only Alhaji Ganiyu Majekodunmi, chairman of Ogun State FA, is seeking an Executive Committee member position. From the South South, Oswald Atuake from Cross River State is up against Emmanuel Ibah, chairman of the Akwa Ibom State FA.

Elections into the NFF Executive Committee 2018-2022 will hold as scheduled on Thursday, 20th September 2018 in the city of Katsina.

World football–governing body, FIFA, has concluded plans to send a top ranking official as observer to the elections.

Stay Focused To Pick AFCON ticket, Pinnick Charges Eaglets

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has charged the U17 National Team, Golden Eaglets to keep level heads and stay focused in order to conquer Ghana’s Black Starlets in Niamey on Saturday and qualify for the the finals of the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations.

Both West African giants of world cadet football clash in the final of the CAF U17 Cup of Nations WAFU B Tournament at the Stade General Seyni Kountche on Saturday evening, with the lone ticket to the Africa U17 Cup of Nations Tanzania 2019 to serve as the spur for an explosive encounter.

Pinnick sits with the players before their training session on Thursday

The atmosphere will be further charged by a 67 – year rivalry between both nations, with crucial wins for either country over the decades. But the Eaglets are encouraged that Ghana’s semi final victims Cote d’Ivoire, suffered a 5-1 hiding when both teams met at the same venue last week.

Nigeria would be further buoyed by the maturity that comes with a plurality of experience, having come from a shaky start to the tournament to reach the final battle. They fell behind 0-2 to Burkina Faso in their opening match before drawing level, only to lose the tie by conceding late in the game. Against the Ivorians, they fired from all cylinders from the beginning and led 5-0, and against Niger Republic on Wednesday, created a hatful of chances and led 2-0 before conceding a late consolation to the hosts.

Pinnick, who is also 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, is in no doubt that the Nigerian boys possess the quality to defeat the Black Starlets and also do the nation proud at the final tournament in Tanzania.

“First, I want to congratulate you on a job well done so far; you have done very well including exhibiting the never-say die spirit that is peculiar to Nigerians. This was visible in the manner you bounced back after the loss to the Burkinabes to dismiss the Ivorians 5-1, and also beat the host nation in the semi finals.

“But I want you to know that the job is not done yet. You must stay focused and listen to your coaches. I believe in their leadership because they are very knowledgeable and experienced and have discovered so many talented players that have excelled in recent years,” Pinnick said.

Speaking further, the NFF supremo advised the young lads to avoid distractions from agents, who according to him, will deceive and hurry them into signing for clubs that would not aid their proper development.

“The youth tournaments are basically developmental, so you have to follow instructions from your coaches and don’t allow agents to deceive you and make you sign for clubs in obscure countries. Players like Nwankwo Kanu and Mikel John Obi, just to mention two, started properly and so were properly developed to stay longer in the game.”

Pinnick meets the Golden Eaglets

Pinnick then promised to take the team for a training tour in either Qatar or Jordan ahead of the U17 AFCON in Tanzania to further help their development, once they qualify.

Five players from the NFF U15 squad discovered during the annual NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Championship, are part of the current squad tutored by Manu Garba.

Responding on behalf of the team, goalkeeper Joseph Oluwabusola thanked the Nigeria Football Federation for the support so far and promised that they will make Nigeria proud on Saturday by defeating the Black Starlets to qualify for the U17 Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania.