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NFF to decide national team coaches’ fate next week

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• Federation commends minister, submits report on teams’ outings
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will decide on the fate of Coach Imama Amapakabo and other coaches, the federation has revealed.

The NFF’s annual general meeting will hold on November 28 in Benin City with the state of the various national teams the major issue for discussion.

NFF Vice President, Seyi Akinwumi told The Guardian yesterday that the federation would study the technical reports the coaches sent after their competitions to arrive at the best way to address the challenges hampering the teams’ development.

He said the NFF was not happy with the way Nigeria’s women and men’s teams failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, adding that the issues went beyond the competency of the coaches.

“The NFF cannot make any pronouncement on Amapakabo or any other coach until after the AGM next week.

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“The matters arising from Nigerian football all through the year would be discussed at the meeting. We will also look at the technical reports from these coaches and know what needs to be done to avoid such anomalies repeating next time.

“As a professional body, the NFF will make information available to the media through the right channels after the AGM. Our duty is not to witch-hunt any coach, but to proffer solutions on how to develop Nigerian football,” he said.

Apart from the Olympics women and men’s football events, Nigeria also failed to qualify for next year’s African Nations Champions (CHAN), a competition that features players based on the continent. This is aside dismal performances at the U-17 and U-20 FIFA World Cup competitions.

Meanwhile, the NFF has hailed the move of the Minister of Sports, Mr. Sunday Akin Dare to request for a report on the performances of the various national teams in recent weeks, just as the football governing–body submitted the requested report on Monday.
 
“It was a good move by the minister to request for the report. As he said, there has to be stock taking and after that, accountability. The NFF is enamoured by the move and we have submitted the requested report.
 
“For us, there is nothing to hide. We have detailed all the issues and the forces at play, and explained that in so much as these tournaments are important, they are mainly and strategically developmental. Even at that, we approach every match/tournament with the intention of winning, but it is practically and absolutely impossible based on indices, records and scientific laws of probability,” NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, said yesterday.
 
In a 15 –page letter signed by Mr. Pinnick, the NFF detailed issues of funding (inadequacy and late release of same) and the toxic and disruptive environment in which it has had to operate for the past 18 months (with the Federation’s leadership and brand falsely and maliciously dragged from one investigative agency to the other and from one court to the other on same baseless allegations) as core reasons for the poor outings of the Super Falcons, CHAN Eagles, Golden Eaglets and Olympic Eagles in recent international matches/tournaments.
 
While acknowledging the importance of the qualifying matches/tournaments in which these teams participated and fell short, the Federation defended the technical crews of the teams and justified why they are the best for the positions as at the time they were hired by highlighting their track records.
 
Pinnick also stated that the best performance indicator for any country in international football is the A team, in this case Super Eagles, which in recent times drew with five –time world champions Brazil and Ukraine in friendlies, and defeated Benin Republic and Lesotho in 2021 AFCON qualifying matches. These, after finishing third at the first –ever 24 –team AFCON in Egypt this year summer. Moreover, a high number of the players in the present Super Eagles squad passed through the various developmental teams, showing that Nigeria is moving in the right direction.

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