We need this trophy, NFF boss pleads with Golden Eaglets



THE President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick will be the happiest man on earth if the Golden Eaglets beat their Mexican counterparts in today’s semifinal clash and go on to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Sunday.

Nigeria has won the trophy a record four times, but Pinnick, who is Chile to cheer the players in today’s semi wants the team not just to extend the record but win the first global trophy for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the present NFF board.

Speaking with The Guardian before he departed for Chile on Tuesday, Pinnick said the players and their officials would be rewarded in a special way, if they lift the trophy.

“My going to Chile is to give the Golden Eaglets morale support. They have done very well and my prayer is for the boys to go two steps further by winning the semifinal against Mexico on Thursday (today) and the trophy on Sunday. I know they can do it,” Pinnick said.

The immediate past NFF administration under Aminu Maigari saw Nigeria winning several trophies, including the Super Eagles’ triumph at South Africa 2013 African Nations Cup as well as the victory by the Golden Eaglets in the United Arabs Emirate also in 2013.

Though, the Pinnick-led NFF board has won one major trophy, the African Women Championship (AWC) in Windhoek, Namibia, last year, he is looking forward to seeing the Eaglets lift the FIFA U-17 World Cup so as to celebrate a global trophy before the year runs out.

Nigerians will have to stay awake to watch the Golden Eaglets semifinal clash against Mexico at the 30,000 –capacity Estadio Municipal Ester Roa in Concepcion by midnight today.

Before then, another African country, Mali, will take on Belgium (the only European team left in contention) in Vina del Mar by 9 pm Nigerian time.

Some football analysts are already looking forward to an all-African affair in the final on Sunday. “I will be interesting to see the two African teams do battle in the final, but this is football, anything can happen,” Pinnick said. “My prayer is to see the Golden Eaglets win the trophy, not minding who they play in the final.”

In 1993, the Golden Eaglets defeated their Ghanaian counterparts in an all-African final in Japan. All four titles won by the Eaglets came from Asia continent.

Meanwhile, Pinnick has praised Coach Emmanuel Amuneke for the team’s performance so far in the championship saying: “I am very excited with the way the team has played so far, raising our country’s flag very high. The Head Coach (Emmanuel Amuneke) has shown tremendous maturity and has managed the team and everything around it brilliantly.

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