By Albert Akota
The President of world football ruling body, FIFA yesterday hailed Nigeria’s Super Eagles, Coach Gernot Rohr, the backroom staff, officials and Nigerian ball fans for their efforts at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
In a letter addressed to NFF’s embattle President Amaju Pinnick and dated 30th August 2018, Infantino wrote, inter alia: “I would like to express our most sincere appreciation to your National Team for participating in this 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup was an unforgettable celebration of football and a major factor in this was the participation of the Super Eagles, their sixth FIFA World Cup appearance.
“I personally was very happy and proud to be able to attend in your presence two of your National Team matches, against Croatia and Iceland. Please pass on my compliments to all those who have contributed to this campaign, the players, the head coach Gernot Rohr but also the technical and medical team and, of course, the fans.
“Such achievement is no doubt based on hard work, professionalism and attention to detail, as well as passion and love of the game. All this augurs well for a very promising future and will undoubtedly pave the way for future success.”
Meanwhile, Amaju Melvin Pinnick has praised the never-say-die spirit of Enyimba FC of Aba in getting a last –gasp winner against Congolese side, CARA Brazaville on Wednesday that shot them into the quarter finals of this year’s CAF Confederation Cup.
Needing a win in the top-of-the-table attrition to be sure of a place in the last eight, with third –placed Williamsville FC of Cote d’Ivoire also in contention, the People’s Elephant launched onslaught after onslaught in front of enthusiastic home support at the newly –renovated Enyimba and finally made good in second half added time. Substitute Wasiu Alalade bundled home after the ball rocked the upright following a 20 –yard free –kick by Andrew Abalogu.
“I commend the spirit of Enyimba FC, the way they approached the game and their determination not to give up even after being unable to make hay from several opportunities. They gave joy to the Government and the good people of Abia State in particular, and football enthusiasts in Nigeria as a whole, and they deserve our applause.
“They showed through their approach, and on the evidence of their win in Bamako on Matchday 5, that they are capable of going all the way. I urge them to take each match in the knockout stages one after the other, and go all the way to make Nigeria proud.”
Pinnick, also the 1st Vice President of CAF, watched the very interesting encounter from the State Box at the eye –catching Enyimba International Stadium, and thanked the Government of Abia State for renovating the facility to true international standard.
“The Government of Abia State has done very well for the youth of the State, and the NFF is using this opportunity to call on other State Governments who don’t have facilities like this to consider investing in such for the benefit of the youth of this country.”
Two –time CAF Champions League winners Enyimba FC is the only Nigerian clubside left in the hunt for continental honour this season. The Draw for the quarter finals will be held at the CAF headquarters in Cairo next Monday.