Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, has accused Chris Giwa and his group of trying to ensure the country does not qualify for the 2018 World Cup, saying they proved a major distraction in the country’s failure to qualify for next year’s African Nations Cup, reports africanfootball.com.
Giwa has for the past two years laid claim to the leadership of the NFF and on Friday he forced his way into the office of the football federation, claiming he has a court order to take over the NFF.
Pinnick has now hit out at Giwa, saying he and his group aim to sabotage Nigeria’s quest to qualify for a sixth World Cup.
“Giwa is a major distraction and their main aim, from A to Z, is to ensure Nigeria do not qualify for the next World Cup after we promised Nigerians we will,” Pinnick said at a press conference in Abuja yesterday.
The draw for the qualifying tournament for the World Cup will be staged on June 24 in Cairo, Egypt. The qualifiers begin in October and will run till November 2017.
But despite the distractions, Pinnick, said his administration remains very much focused on giving the Super Eagles the maximum support to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
While acknowledging that failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (second time in succession) was quite painful, Pinnick said the objective of reaching Russia 2018 was non–negotiable.
“We cannot afford any distractions, not from anywhere. We have an objective of qualifying for Russia 2018 and that is not what we can negotiate. That is one of the reasons I am in the office today. The Board has to look at various areas of the preparation as we countenance the draw for the group phase of the series that is coming up on 24th June.”
Pinnick also drew positives from the two international friendly matches the Super Eagles played in Europe against Mali and Luxembourg, saying the two games unveiled a young, vibrant team capable of taking Nigeria football to new levels of excellence.