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Pinnick, NFF Board members at Eaglets’ screening

After fruitful discussions with the House of Representatives Committee on Sports at the National Assembly on Tuesday, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick took time out of his tight schedule to witness the on-going Golden Eaglets’ screening at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project Pitch in Abuja.
Pinnick who came in company of a number of board members and some football stakeholders, spent almost one hour to watch the players jostling to be part of the team being put in place for the forthcoming qualifiers for the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Madagascar next year.
On the entourage of Pinnick were NFF’s 1st Vice-President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, Alhaji Babagana Kalli, Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau. There were also Pinnick’s Special Assistant on security, Chikelue Iloenyosi and Austin Popo, secretary of Nigeria Players’ Union.
Speaking to Extra Time Pinnick stated that the large turnout is a vindication of the abundance of talents in the country, even as he challenged the coaching crew to discover more Kelechi Iheanachos, Victor Osimhens and their ilk for the country.
“This exercise is competitive and I’m always very proud to see young players play football but at the end of the day, only about 50 or 60 would be picked by the coaches,” noted Pinnick. “But the players have shown discipline and we have also seen dexterity on the part of some of them and I’m just overwhelmed; and I think it is going to be difficult for the technical study group to arrive at a sizeable number.”
According to Pinnick, football has become an integral sector of the economy, adding that young players have seen that football is a leeway to better the lot of their families. He further said Nigeria has created an enviable record at the U-17 level after the Golden Eaglets won its fifth title in Chile last year, and asked the coaching crew to maintain the momentum: “The U-17 World Cup is our exclusive preserve and we must keep on winning it.”
Meanwhile, Coach Garba has expressed confidence in the ability of the technical crew to assemble talented crop of players capable of defending the proud record of the country at the U-17 level.
“So far, so good and we have been able to pick about 100 players from almost 2000 players we have been able to screen,” stated Garba. “We are going to prune the list to 60 so that the players can go for the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Test which is part of the eligibility process at this level,” he informed.
On the outcome of the meeting with the House of Reps’ Committee on Sports that also had Chris Giwa and members of his group in attendance, a smiling Pinnick said: “It was a fruitful meeting, but you have to respect the Committee while they are putting together their report. It is indecent to go to press and be talking about such an important meeting with Nigeria’s parliament while they are still writing their report.”
CAPTION: NFF boss, Amaju Pinnick (2nd from left) and other NFF Board members at Eaglets screening in Abuja.

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