President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Alhaji (Dr) Issa Hayatou has affirmed that failure to qualify for the 30th Africa Cup of Nations has not diminished the importance of Nigeria to the entire structure of African football.
In a chat with President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick after the Draw Ceremony for the championship in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday, Hayatou admitted that the entire African football family will miss the Super Eagles at next year’s finals.
“The whole of Africa will miss Nigeria in Equatorial Guinea. But the absence will not in any way diminish your stature as a very big and influential nation in the African game.
“It would have been good to have the defending champions here. Nigeria brings so much value to the Africa Cup of Nations. However, we know that you will come back much stronger, as you did in winning the Cup in South Africa last year after missing out of the 2012 championship.”
Africa’s football supremo also celebrated the vitality and enterprise that the youthful Amaju Pinnick will bring to Nigeria’s football administration, while formally welcoming him to the African football family.
“I am happy to see someone like you take charge of Nigeria football. I have always known you right from Nigeria ’99 World Youth Championship to the African Women Championship finals in Delta State in 2002 and 2006. I know your dynamism and capacity and I believe you will deliver for Nigeria football. There is so much promise for the future.”
Pinnick was the youngest head of National Association at the Draw Ceremony held in Malabo on Wednesday.