Pinnick apologises for shoddy AITEO Cup, defiant on Salisu Yusuf

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick has tendered unreserved apologies to Nigerians for the disastrous organization of the Federation’s flagship football competition, the AITEO/ Federation Cup.

He however refuses to shift ground on comments made to the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC on what they(the Federation) plan to do with suspended Super Eagles coach, Salisu Yusuf at the expiration of his one year hiatus from coaching.

Poorest Federation Cup ever?

Followers of Nigerian football have described the 2018 AITEO Federation Cup, formerly known as FA Cup as one of the worst organized in the history of Nigerian football.

First, Kogi United, a club banned from the competition in 2017 for two years found themselves playing in it and up till the Round of 16 with no word from the Federation how that happened.

Then in the earlier stages of the competition, there was no AITEO presence at the venues making the games look like mere street football games.

Then Enyimba was forced to rush their games, playing five matches in ten days plus two eighteen hour road trips in the same period to catch up with AITEO Cup matches and their CAF Confederation Cup games, only for the Cup final to be eventually moved by one week.

Planning for this competition had never been this chaotic.

“For the AITEO Cup, I personally apologise to every one because everything we have done this year has been basically a makeshift arrangement.

“That is why we are apologizing because it has really been makeshift. Yes we are coming out with a grandiose finale in Yenagoa and Asaba but by next year we are going to do something that is out of this world,” Pinnick told

“Look at the League too. It did not end and that is why I keep saying that crisis situation does not pay anybody, it doesn’t.

“Their role is purely destructive and that is why the media should be very objective in their reportage.

“All the things happening were not caused by me.” Pinnick said.

Defiant on Salisu

Amaju Pinnick, however, remains strong headed over the future of Salisu Yusuf.

The Ethics Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation recommended a one year suspension for the Super Eagles coach which was carried out, his offence being that he was caught on tape receiving one thousand dollars (about three hundred and sixty thousand naira) from Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw who was posing to be a football agent.

The brief was to ensure two players make it to the final Nigerian team for the African Nations Championships, CHAN, holding in Morocco.

Pinnick insists he is right to say Salisu will return to the Super Eagles after one year.

“When somebody is guilty of a sin and if you look at the magnitude of the sin, he did not go there to solicit, they came to him.

“Now it did not influence his decision and that is why they gave him one year. Even in the Bible Jesus Christ said ‘he who is without sin should cast the first stone?’ Pinnick told

“Obasanjo went to prison, came back and became president, Nelson Mandela went to prison, came back and became president,” Pinnick continued.

“We have seen a lot of things. We have trained this man, formally and informally. He committed a sin, not intentionally. You mean after one year we should just discard him?

“Just assuming we say he shouldn’t come back, you have shut him out of football. He will have options and the options are not positive, maybe joining Boko Haram, maybe joining the militants or doing something destructive.”

The NFF president argued that punishment should be meted out to restore people and not to annihilate them.

“Listen, these things are restorative. When you punish somebody, you want him to be a better person not to annihilate or destroy him. People should realise this, and I stand firm to say it.

I am very emphatic. We shouldn’t be hypocrites. Because he did what? He shouldn’t come close to the national team? We are going to stand firmly. Once he is done, we welcome him back. But do you also think that once he is back he will do something like that? No! He will become a better person,” Amaju Pinnick said.

In the absence of Salisu Yusuf there has been addition to the coaching ranks at the Super Eagles to fill up the vacant position of chief coach.

Below are some reactions to Amaju Pinnick’s stance on the Social Media app, Twitter.

I’m worried about the precedent that “welcome” sets. Good enough, Salisu is a great guy, but we need to be careful with the message we are sending to young people


This would be a very terrible mistake

Forgive those who trespass against you 😂



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