By the time his second term tenure expires in 2022, Amaju Melvin Pinnick would have made history as the first man since 1946 to get a two-term mandate to lead Nigeria football. It has not been easy to cross that bridge, given the intrigues and court cases. But with FIFA sending representatives to witness the election, all should be quiet at the home front. However, here are the FIVE things Pinnick should focus on, as his second term unfolds…
Restore the glory of our women football league. He owes it to the women, simple. Women football has more than stagnated in the last four years, it has regressed, and this is because the NFF doesn’t seem to care. The league has gone from one where walk-overs are rife, to one where matches are played under appalling conditions, as those elected/appointed to run the Women League, are running it without financial backing. The national teams convene only weeks to major events, while allowances are routinely missed. Pinnick is constantly talking about how much progress the board has made in terms of ‘attracting sponsorship’, the situation of the women league says otherwise.
Like the Women’s league, the NPFL also need an intervention. But the jury on that may be on hold until after the experiment being mooted for next season, following the chaos that ended the last one. He is head of the Football Association, not the Super Eagles; directly or indirectly, the NPFL falls under his purview. That league is degenerating, a lot can be done to make it better in four years, and the clock has started ticking.
Super Eagles must win the Nations Cup. Yep, that a no-brainer. And they must play the quarter finals of a World Cup too. Nigeria has missed two Cup of Nations, and played their worst World Cup since 2010 at Russia 2018. Given that Pinnick has been famously quoted as saying a Nigerian will never coach the team under his watch, while it is on record that it was a Nigerian at the helm the last time the Super Eagles were African Champions, and played in the second round at the World Cup; it will be a burden if the Eagles fail to win the Nations Cup, or progress beyond the second round at a FIFA World Cup under his watch.
It is time sponsors get good ROI on the deals they signed with the association and the Super Eagles. The huge goodwill the body enjoyed during the World Cup qualifiers will be severely tested if a disastrous Nations Cup qualifier or campaign happens. The World Cup attracts huge money, and maybe that is why so much energy was expended on the Super Eagles to the detriment of the other teams. The hard work starts now. The terrible reviews following the organization of the (heavily sponsored) FA Cup is a good example of how not to give mileage to sponsors.
And finally, he must find a way to bring about peace, and end the ceaseless bickering that has engulfed Nigeria football over the years. He has the backing of FIFA, and is assured that this government will not allow interference in any way, in the affairs of the association. That should give him the impetus to make the necessary moves, or engineer a ruthless put-down of rebellion. Nigeria football needs the peace.
No other NFA or NFF President got the chance to make amends, or continue with whatever they started during their first term. Amaju Pinnick is standing in a unique place, and he has a chance to make leave a lasting legacy.