The President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Pinnick Amaju, yesterday disclosed that his road to the executive board of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was very tortuous, dogged and capital intensive.
The NFF president, who defeated strong opposition from several Nigerians in CAF committees and his Benin republic counterpart, Mousharaf Anjourin to win one of the West African seats at the continental football governing body however declared that his victory at CAF has liberated Nigerian football.
Pinnick, who appreciated the NFF executive board members for their support also noted that the unwavering support he received from his friends outside football, some state governors and the government of Nigeria powered him to victory, adding that they all believed that it was a mission possible for Nigeria to have a say in CAF.
Commenting on the journey to the CAF seat, Pinnick said: “The first persons I spoke with when I started this journey were Shehu Dikko and my General Secretary. We all believed that it was a mission possible that we need a Nigerian to be in the CAF Executive Committee.
“It is a new vista and channel that will help us develop football not just in Africa but also Nigeria. Once you are a Nigerian leading a global affiliation, most countries will unconsciously depend on you not for future leadership but directional leadership. People expect a Nigerian administrator to give them quality leadership in one way or the other.
“CAF must be an exclusive reserve of Nigeria. We must be there and because of our size, we must have a say, having contributed to the progress of the game. I want to thank every Nigerian.
“It was capital intensive because I traveled to over 35 countries in my campaign, I thoroughly appreciate them all because Nigeria today is the winner.
"It was a very long, rough, and tortuous and rugged journey, but I am happy that at the end of the day we have causes to smile. For the first time Nigeria is going to play a front and strong role in CAF.
"I thank the governors of Delta State, Lagos, Edo, Cross River states, the DG NIMASA, the ministry of Petroleum, my brother and friend the CBN governor, individual contributions.
“I thank the Senate President, Chairmen of both Committees of Reps and Senate. Nigeria is the ultimate winner because for the first time, Nigeria is not going to play a passive role. We will play a very frontal and strong role not peripheral.” he noted.