Monday, 25 July 2016

'Pinnick Must Go' protest mars Infantino's Nigeria Visit

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Ex-international Emeka Ezeogu led protest at the Transcorp Hotel asking for the resignation of NFF boss Amaju Pinnick citing his many failings during Infantino's arrival
The working visit of Fifa president Gianni Infantino to Nigeria has been overshadowed by a protest demanding the resignation of Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick over his illegal stay in office and incompetence on Sunday.
The protesters, led by former Nigeria international Emeka Ezeogu, besieged the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, following the arrival of the Fifa boss and  secretary general Fatma Samoura. Fifa executive assistants Mattias Grafstrom and Veron Mosengo-Omba were also part of Infantino's entourage.
The Fifa president and the secretary general landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at about 4:30pm from Switzerland ahead of his two-day working visit to the country.
Infantino's visit is his first official appearance in Africa since he was elected as the new Fifa president on February 29, replacing Sepp Blatter. He will also meet with federation heads of several other African countries duing the trip.

The president and secretary general were immediately whisked away from the airport upon arrival, failing to speak to the media due to security report of a planned disruption.
Under his two-year watch, NFF boss Pinnick has seen the Super Eagles crumble to 70th position on the Fifa world ranking after failing to qualify the country to a second consecutive Africa Cup of Nations since winning the continental showpiece in 2013.
The Super Falcons have missed the Olympics for a second time in a row and the NFF owes both past and present coaches including the late Stephen Keshi and Shaibu Amodu till date.
The Super Eagles are without a substantive coach three months to their opening group game of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and the scandalous handling of Frenchman Paul le Guen's hiring has shown how incompetent the present board has been.
On Saturday, seven-time champions, the Flying Eagles failed to qualify for the U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Zambia next year. This means reigning U17 world record scorer Victor Oshimen will miss the upcoming U20 Fifa World Cup, the first for Nigeria since 1999.
At least 10 protesters, including leader Ezeogu, were found displaying placards outside the Transcorp Hilton Hotel during the arrival of the Fifa president, NFF and other FA presidents.
On the placards were written "Infantino - Nigerian football is in shambles", 'Amaju Must Go' and 'President Buhari Save Nigeria Football' among others.

The protest of Ezeogu is the second held this year since the Nigeria Sports Marketers Association requested for the resignation of Pinnick for 'incompetence' during a meeting with the sports minister in April.
Many questions have continued to trail the dipping fortunes of Nigerian football, especially with national teams' recent poor outings despite the improving men's topflight domestic league and a long list of aspiring talents around the world.
With the country's football obviously facing heavy structural defects and administrative crisis, football analysts and fans believe the widely-advertised visit of the Fifa president was wrongly timed.
Most troubling of all is the financial burden of hosting the Fifa president, the secretary general, 17 African football association presidents alongside government officials at a time when the NFF has not been able to pay coaches' salaries and players' bonuses.
Pinnick is hoping to use Infantino's visit to promote his fading acceptability as NFF president despite a Jos court order asking him out of office at the expense of his challenger Chris Giwa since he assumed office on September 29, 2014.

However, millions of football fans are worried about what blessing the visit of the Fifa top officials will bring Nigeria seeing the dwindling fortunes of the game in the country.
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