For the very first time in a long while, NFF president Amaju Melvin Pinnick walked out of the office of the sports minister, Sunday Dare, looking excited and very much relieved.
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, the media had painted a funny picture of misunderstanding between the NFF and the ministry after the 10-year football master-plan committee was set up. There were also insinuations in some quarters that the ministry was against the appointment of a foreign coach to replace Gernot Rohr following rumours that the NFF had gone in search of another Whiteman.
All those side talks were finally put to rest on Thursday as Nigeria sports minister, Sunday Dare, hosted NFF president Amaju Pinnick and his general secretary Mohammed Sanusi to a closed door meeting in Abuja.
Before the meeting, the five attendees took time to exchange pleasantries, after which the minister congratulated Amaju on his 51st birthday celebration.
Although the NFF president failed to come with the birthday cake, he offered a joke that left everyone present laughing.
That joke provided a befitting ambiance to what turned out a very successful meeting.
Apart from Sunday Dare, the ministry’s encourage was fully fortified with the presence of the permanent Secretary in the ministry, Isma’il Abubakar and chief of Staff to the minister, Abba yola.
The agenda for Thursday meeting was…
1 The true situation on the contract of embattled Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr
2. A review of the World Cup Qualifier technical report
3. Preparation for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations
The NFF used the ocassion to explain their position on Gernot Rohr and both parties agreed not to make any official pronouncement on the matter until all his monies have been paid. This is because of the legal implications involved in contractual agreements. However the minister emphasized the need to set the ball rolling and get men to work early as the country will not accept any excuse for failure.
NFF president Amaju Pinnick is expected to meet with the sports minister next week to formally inform him of what they have decided going forward. He will also formally submit his score card to the ministry.
The minister acknowledged receipt of Gernot Rohr’s World Cup Qualifier technical report and promised that the ministry will revert after studying the paper comprehensively.
On the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations which is just over three weeks away, the sport Ministry and it’s affiliate, the Nigeria football federation agreed to work together to ensure the quick release of funds so that the team will have a hitch free preparation and campaign at the bi-annual competition.
By Adewale Ajayi