Though the Super Eagles is not taking part in the on-going Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, says the competition is feeling the impact of Nigerians.
Pinnick, who is in Gabon as match commissioner, told The Guardian yesterday that Nigerians assigned with various responsibilities in the AFCON are living up to expectations. Pinnick superintended the second group match between Ghana’s Black Stars and the Eagles of Mali, which the Ghanaians won through a lone goal by Asamoah Gyan to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group D in Port-Gentil.
Pinnick is expected to be the match commissioner in one of the quarterfinal matches on Saturday as well as the third place game.Two years ago in Equatorial Guinea, the NFF boss was the match commissioner at six different games, including the second semifinal contest between the host, Equatorial Guinea, and Black Stars, which the Ghanaians won 3-0.
He also took charge of the match between the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire (eventual winners of the 2015 AFCON) and the Syli Nationale of Guinea at the group stage, the Lions of Cameroun against the Eagles of Mali, and Mali versus Guinea, before the crucial last group game between Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroun.
Pinnick told The Guardian yesterday that the experience he gathered two years ago in Equatorial Guinea was a major boost in his job, as match commissioner, just as he commended Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the ‘numerous innovations’ in this year’s edition of the AFCON.
He said: “Two years ago, I was still new on the job, but now, I have gathered a lot of experience. There are other Nigerians carrying out various roles in this competition and they are performing very well. I must commend them.” he said.
I also commend CAF for the numerous innovations they have introduced in the Nations Cup,” he said.Apart from Pinnick, some other Nigerians, including Samson Adamu, a member of Nigerian Beach Soccer Committee are in Gabon for the AFCON.