NFF President Amaju Pinnick, Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko and some other Members of the NFF Board, NFF General Secretary Dr Mohammed Sanusi and other Members of the NFF Management were in buoyant mood as they joined the players in celebration following Nigeria’s qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals on Saturday.
Pinnick, also a member of the Executive Committee of CAF, was thrown up in the air by Super Eagles’ players as the spontaneous celebrations at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium became elaborate. The same treatment was given to Coach Gernot Rohr, the 64 –year old Franco-German who was employed in August last year and has lost only one of 10 matches, winning six; NFF 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko and; Captain Mikel Obi and playmaker Victor Moses.
The Eagles unfurled two large banners with messages: ‘We are Eagles; We are flying to Russia’ and ‘Thank You Uyo’, to the delight of the cheering, 35,000 -capacity crowd. They also wore specially –designed T-Shirts conveying the same message.
Pinnick told thenff.com: “I am short of words. Let me just say that I am very, very happy. This is the sixth time Nigeria is qualifying for the World Cup, but this one is very sweet because many referred to our section as a ‘Group of Death’. We have survived. We give glory to God.”
An equally joyous Sanusi said: “We are excited and as this Board has continued to promise, it is not just about qualification. We will ensure the best preparation for the team to set a new record of performance for Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup when they go to Russia next year.”
Nigeria’s best outing at the FIFA World Cup has been the Round of 16, which they reached in 1994, 1998 and 2014. They were eliminated in the group phase in 2002 and 2010.