Nigeria football federation president, Amaju Melvin Pinnick comes up against two renown football administrators, in Alhaji Aminu Maigari, a former president of the federation and Taiwo Ogunjobi who also served as general secretary under Kogi state born former NFF president, Sani Lulu, between, 2010 and 2014.
Many have asked what Pinnick and Maigari left in the football house after a tenure laced with the good, the bad and the ugly.
For current incumbent, Amaju Pinnick, such question will sound rather unnecesary knowing the giant strides, this Delta state born football administrator has taken, to lift Nigeria football from a mediocre level of mare participants to key decision makers at the continental and world stage.
Apart from fighting his way to the top echelon of Africa football, Pinnick has also been magnanimous in sharing the goodwill to over ten top Nigeria football administrators who today, occupy key positions in the Confederation of Africa football, CAF and the world football governing body, FIFA.
From FA chairman of Delta state, he rose to chairman of the Delta state football commission before upsetting the applecart to become president of the Nigeria football federation in 2014. Ever since then, Amaju Pinnick has not looked back.
He defeated Benin Republic Musharafu Anjorin in a keenly contested election, to emerge member of the CAF executive committee and just three years after, fate has pushed him to the position of Vice President of Africa’s highest football governing body.
Pinnick’s rise has further raised the profile of Nigeria football as a super power on the continent. Apart from the fact that young and vibrant Nigeria football administrators now occupy key positions in the continental body, Nigeria now play key roles in decision making, especially in the area of competition, officiating, administration, appointments and many more.
Just last year, after the Super Eagles lost to South Africa on home soil, in one of the opening fixtures of the AFCON 2018 qualifiers, there was palpable fear that the Super Eagles will not qualify for a third straight Nations cup, a situation that hightened the already tensed atmosphere in Nigeria football.
Pinnick and other members of his executive committee quickly put on their thinking caps to fashion a way out of the woods.
Luckily, the idea to increase the Number of teams participating in the biannual competition was mutted at the CAF Symposium in Morocco and Pinnick, being the chairman of AFCON organising committee, used his position to influence votes in favour of a 24 teams format which automatically improved Nigeria chances, as two teams will now qualify from each group, instead of one.
Only recently, Enyimba FC of Aba almost had their home match against CARA Brazaville of Congo in the CAF Confederation Cup, stopped because of poor visibility at the Enyimba international stadium, but Pinnick who watched the match, in his position as CAF’s vice president assessed the situation and gave the match commissioner the permission to complete the game, despite protests from the visiting team.
Pinnick’s influence also came to play just recently in Niger Republic after the host team, filed a protest against Nigeria following their semi final defeat to the eventual champions.
Niger republic alleged that a Nigerian player who was not fielded on the day, was not eligible to be registered for the competition but Pinnick who breezed into Niamey to boost the morale of the team two days before Saturday’s final, had an input in the eventual decision that exonorated Nigeria of any offence and cleared the Golden Eaglets for Saturday final which they went on to win, defeating Ghana 3-1 on penalties.
All these, coupled with the fact that his administration has brought honour, glory and improved sponsorship to Nigeria football, means, there is every need to give this super talented administrator another chance to complete his good work.