The Super Eagles may not get a tall order to win next year’s Africa Cup of Nations if they qualify, as Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Melvin Amaju Pinnick says all they need to do is achieve ‘a meaningful impact.’
While Nigerian soccer fans might want to remain insatiable and demand a ‘win-at-all-cost’ outing at Cameroon 2019, Pinnick declared that the NFF will focus more on the future.
The Eagles failed to qualify for the past two editions of the continental soccer showpiece and, heading into the restart of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers next month, Pinnick says the desire for top spot will not be the ultimate target, even if they qualify.
Rather than make it imperative for the Eagles to rule Africa for the fourth time in history, Pinnick said the NFF’s focus now will be on youth development.
Pinnick pledged that the federation would double its efforts to meet aspirations of the country’s football fans as well as the forthcoming continental championships.
However, Pinnick affirmed that the NFF’s immediate focus would be on the Eagles’ 2019 AFCON qualifiers against Seychelles on September 8, as well as their home-and-away ties against Libya in October, followed by away fixture against South Africa in November.
Pinnick also revealed that the federation would pay close attention to the upcoming 2018 Women Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana in November, as well as the 2019 U20 and U17 Africa Cup of Nations championships billed for Niger Republic and Tanzania respectively.
Pinnick stated: “Our vision, as we have espoused from Day One, is to build a sustainable football culture for our dear nation. To do that, youth development is key.
“That is what we are trying to do with the U15 squad which recently reached the final of the African Youth Games in Algeria, and which will form the bulk of the next U17 team.
“We will approach the matches one game at a time. Our objective is not only to qualify for the finals, but for the Super Eagles to also make a meaningful impact at the finals in Cameroun in the summer of next year.”