7 minutes with China: I can see what Pinnick is doing

There will be few fans of football in Nigeria who are not happy with what is happening with the game in the country, at least at National Team level.

Even the most pessimistic of people will take a back seat, relax, smile and tell themselves that the Super Eagles are doing well.

Nigeria have just qualified for the World Cup without losing a game and just on Tuesday last week spanked the Argentinians 4-2 in a friendly game, the most remarkable thing being the fact that they won from 2-0 down.

Some have taken their optimism a notch higher by thinking the Eagles can win the World Cup and I would not blame them.

But I am watching the Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick, I can see what he is doing and I think that he knows what he is up to.

This is a good thing because, finally, we may have an FA chairman/ Federation president who knows what he is doing.

He has been criticised a lot in the past for some of his policies but something seems to be working for him right now and the man who takes the blame for failure should also take the plaudit for success.

I wrote on this column some weeks back that the president could make himself a hero, the hero of our football by surpassing the achievements of other FA chairmen and presidents before him.

I also suggested that he look back at the incidents that ensured the Super Eagles got distracted at previous World Cups and ensures they do not happen this time.

Apparently, Amaju Pinnick and his team has been reading 7 Minutes with China religiously which is a good thing.

I saw a story and pictures from the Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire that a landmark agreement had been signed between the NFF and the players.

Now, what this agreement does is that it ensures a protest free World Cup where the players focus on the football in Russia rather than get distracted with issues of money.

As far as I know of this, bonuses, allowances and the players’ share of income from FIFA has been sorted out, something that has not happened at this time with the Super Eagles at previous World Cups.

Remember, in Brazil in 2014, we watched with dismay how the Eagles boycotted one training session before their game against France.

It is great thinking by the Pinnick led NFF and he should be commended for it.

This certainly means that he has begun to look at what stopped us from doing well in the past and is sorting them out, and in good time too.

I had explained all of these in a previous edition of 7 minutes with China

Another smart move from Pinnick
Amaju Pinnick

There will just be one FIFA window for friendly games before countries name their teams for the World Cup.

Incidentally, that window had been scheduled in Africa to play AFCON 2019 Qualifiers which would have been a problem for the 5 teams going to the World Cup.

Do they play AFCON qualifiers or friendly games that would position them for the World Cup.

I'm sure all five countries involved were worried about how these AFCON Qualifying games would affect their preparations for the World Cup but according to a report in www.completesportsnigeria.com Super Eagles media officer, Toyin Ibitoye is quoted to have said, “Yes, the 2019 AFCON qualifiers have been postponed, the Super Eagles will play two grade A friendlies in March,” Ibitoye told Completesportsnigeria.com.

Ibitoye also tweeted: “Top source reveals that African teams to the World Cup will now have the March 2018 FIFA international days for friendly games after the CAF executive committee approved @PinnickAmaju’s proposal for 2019 AFCON qualifiers fixed for that period moved to October 2018.

If this was really down to Pinnick and nothing/ no one else, then he deserves plaudits for being pro-active and thinking ahead, a rarity in Nigerian sports administration.

I can see what Amaju Pinnick is doing. I had advised sometime back that he could deify himself by doing certain things.

It seems he really wants that and it will be not just for his own good but for the good of the country.

I can see what Pinnick is doing and I must confess, he is more intelligent than some of us have thought.

The race to succeed in 2018 is for all of us. I can see Pinnick and his team at the NFF doing their part. We need to also do ours.

Did the minister really gaffe?
Solomon Dalung

The sports minister, Solomon Dalung has slowly carved a niche for himself as Nigeria’s most mocked public figure.

Every time he speaks, or at least, most times he does, he never fails to leave something for the social media hawks to feast on and he didn’t disappoint last week when he spoke after the game between Nigeria and Argentina.

I saw the taunts on twitter and some other social media platforms and my initial reaction was that we should let it pass as he may just have made a simple mistake which we all make every day of our lives.

But I was able to watch a short video of the minister on instagram making that statement and my anger grew at Nigerians who readily jump on any bandwagon, some not even knowing where the wagon is off to.

I even saw a face book post by an aide to the minister, Nneka Anibeze trying to defend the “mistake” made by her boss and I laughed because I thought she made a “no situation” even worse.

Did Dalung really make a mistake or did Nigerians simply out of nothing create a mistake they wanted?

The minister said, “… Argentina is one of the highly ranked Football Associations in Nigeria...” and sex starved Nigerians made it viral, throwing vibes at him because they thought he insinuated that the Argentine FA was in Nigeria. How sad!

What the minister meant to say, at least what I made out of it was that, “Amongst Nigerians, and in Nigeria, the Argentine FA is one of the most highly ranked Football Associations.”

It just took one person who was bored or maybe mischievous to post the minister’s statement with a smiley emoji to laugh at the Dalung and we all lost our senses of reasoning.

The minister has made lots of gaffes in his two years in office, and I have taken my time to laugh at him a lot of those times, but this one was in good order and anyone who laughed at that statement needs to look himself again in the mirror and move on with life.

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