The qualification series for the 2017 Cup of Nations (to be hosted by Gabon) will be concluded in September 2016, but the Eagles have what is seen as a group-decider, double-dose against the Pharaohs of Egypt in March, while the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be staged in Russia, begin in October 2016.
Speaking on a television programme yesterday, Pinnick also explained that a holistic solution being packaged for the women’s game in the country has been slowed down by the poor state of the economy, which hit hard at the company that was willing to pick the bills of the proposed expatriate Coach for the Super Falcons.
He paid glowing tributes to the contribution of ideas, toil and sacrifices of the members of the NFF executive committee and management, saying the bountiful harvests that Nigeria football reaped in year 2015 was the handiwork of a united and committed team.
Admitting that the job of managing Nigeria football (where about 150 million of estimated 170 million population are ‘football coaches’) is a tough call, Pinnick assured that the NFF are equal to the task.
“I want to state clearly that it has never been a one-man show. The members of the executive committee and management have been excellent. We are a united team. The triumphs of the U-20 boys in Senegal, the U-17 boys in Chile and the U-23 boys in Senegal, as well as the qualification of the Eagles B for the African Nations Championship and the progress the Super Eagles have made are the results of a committed group.
“I make bold to say that year 2016 will be even better. We are looking to see the Eagles B win the African Nations Championship, the Super Eagles qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and starting the race to Russia 2018 on a sound footing, and also planning for the women teams to excel at their various international championships.”
The Super Falcons expect to qualify for the African Women Championship in Cameroun, while the U-20 girls have already qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea and the U-17 girls are looking to reach the U-17 World Cup in Jordan.