President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick has said that 2017 will be a great year for football in the country.
Pinnick was speaking on Wednesday, while appearing on Sports This Morning on Channels Television.
The former Delta FA chief admitted that 2016 was a very rough year, but feels 2017 will be better.
He said: “Generally I will say, with all sense of objectivity, that it was a kind of mixed fortune for Nigerian football in 2016.”
“In terms of technology and new thinking in global football, we have signed up for the Domestic Transfer Matching System (DTMS), the Intermediary Regulatory Tool (IRT), the FIFA Connect and FIFA Integrity programmes.”
“I think the federation has done well in these areas and we are always looking to the future; these are technology driven programs and areas that will enhance football in the country.”
“We are the first country in Africa to have signed up for the DTMS. So, in terms of technology and the new thinking in global football, I think we are in the right direction.”
“However, in terms of the politics of the game and funding, I won’t rate us very well. That’s the truth. We have not been able to live up to expectation in that area.”
“Then in terms of qualifying for events, yes, we started very slowly but now we are on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup.”
“It’s a marathon anyway, but I think we have got to an appreciable distance.”
Pinnick also commended all the national teams, adding that they had done the federation very proud in spite of all the challenges.
“The last two years haven’t been very encouraging and of course, we give credence to the fact that the country is going through a recession.”
“The recession is not peculiar to football; it has to do with the economy generally. If you look at Nigeria, how many companies have posted profits this year?”
“The reality is that the economy has not been very palatable, but we are working with companies that have MDs and CEOs who are driven by passion for the game.”
“They love football. So, we just sell that point to them and they buy it. So, I think next year will be a great year for Nigerian football.”
“Next year by God’s grace, when I will be sitting here reviewing football again, I will say congratulations; we are in the World Cup, congratulations, we are going to go beyond the second round.”
“You can look at the maturity of our players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi even Victor Osimhen. We have the youngest and most enterprising team in the continent at the moment.”
“Unfortunately, we are not in AFCON; if we are in the tournament, there’s no way we would have won it,” he said.