By Ben Efe
AS the clock ticks and the Monday, August 20 deadline given to Nigeria by FIFA to put its football house in order, Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick said things will be resolved amicably and Nigeria will escape a FIFA suspension.
This is coming on the heels of an attempt by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung to have a dialogue with officials of the world soccer governing body, but he was snubbed. As at yesterday evening, there was no sign that the Nigerian government had acceded to FIFA instructions to hand the secretariat of the NFF to the Amaju Pinnick faction of the NFF that it recognises.
Pressed for comments, Mr. Pinnick said: “No body wants Nigeria to be banned. We are working towards avoiding it. I’m in touch with the government and FIFA,”
If by Monday midnight however, Mr. Pinnick and the secretary-general of the NFF, Sanusi Mohammed failed to confirm to FIFA, that they are now in charge of the NFF headquarters, Nigeria will be suspended from all FIFA related activities.
A first casualty will be the Super Eagles. They will play Seychelles in a 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier on September 9, a suspension by FIFA will put that game in jeopardy.
The Golden Eaglets too could be barred from participating in next month’s U-17 AFCON.
Pinnick and Chris Giwa have been locked in a battle for who controls the NFF a fall-out of the 2014 elections, which was disputed. FIFA recognised Mr. Pinnick’s election because it followed due process.
Giwa who held a separate election outside a recognised congress headed to court to seek redress and he got the judgment, which he and his main backer the Sports Minister are holding on to justify his claims to be the authentic president of the NFF. This is not minding the fact that he was banned for five years for going against the NFF statutes and the FIFA code of ethics.