President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF Mr. Amaju Pinnick has pledged that the nation’s men and women football teams will return to the next Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 after they failed to qualify for the just-concluded edition in Tokyo, Japan.
This is as he has felicitated with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare on Nigeria’s outing at the Tokyo Games.
According to a statement released from the NFF Communication department yesterday, Pinnick said, “I pledge that our football teams will return to the Games in three years’ time in Paris and compete favourably for the gold medals.”
Stressing that the country didn’t win as many medals as the citizens desired, he said that the individual performances put up by some athletes shows that “there is hope for the next Games in Paris”, adding that “the silver and bronze medals earned in Tokyo make the just-ended Olympics Nigeria’s best outing in 21 years”.
Pinnick was particularly delighted at the performance of multi-talented Ese Brume, who won the women’s long jump: “I am happy for Ese (Brume) because I played a role in her discovery and nurturing. I am fulfilled at her career progression and I believe she will be there in Paris in three years’ time to win the gold medal”.
He commended the sports minster, Mr. Dare for encouraging the athletes while they competed in Tokyo, stressing that he did not behave like his predecessor, Solomon Dalung who “constituted himself into a bulwark and divisive force against Nigerian athletes at the last Olympics in Brazil”.
“We do not wish to recall his inglorious remarks against the football team when the team was camping in the USA. That football team eventually ended up winning Team Nigeria’s only medal – a bronze – at the Games,” the statement quoted Pinnick as saying.