4th December, 2014
President of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has dismissed a report in a section of the media that the much–anticipated international friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Selecao of Brazil scheduled for 29 March, 2015 had been cancelled.
“It is not true that the match had been cancelled. There is nothing like that. What people are probably not clear about is the fact that Brazil will play France around the same period.
“Brazil will play France on 26 March, while they will fly to Nigeria to play the Super Eagles at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium on 29 March. The two games and dates are quite different,” Pinnick clarified on Thursday.
He stated further: “We are working hard at ensuring that we utilize all the FIFA –free days for international friendlies next year. There are about 10 of those dates and we will get opponents for the Super Eagles for each and everyone of them.
“We have firmly put behind us the Eagles’ failure to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Our focus now is on building a much stronger team through giving opportunities to foreign –based players who had either been on the fringes or previously shut out, and also taking good look at those players on the domestic scene who have shown some promise.”
Brazil, five –time champions of the world, played the Super Eagles in Nigeria previously, winning 3-0 in June 2003 in a friendly organized as part of activities to test –run the National Stadium, Abuja ahead of the 8th All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted four months later.
Meawhile, Nigeria’s 11 elite referees for a two –week capacity enhancing programme in the United Kingdom flew into London on Wednesday, excited at the quality of the programme and the resource persons at hand.
NFF President, Pinnick, had secured sponsorship from insurance firm, Senforce Insurance Limited, for the programme, which will see the referees engage in question-and-answer sessions to analyse English Premiership games, get involved in mini-workshops and visit top playing grounds Wembley and Emirates as well as the offices The Football Association.
Led by the President of Nigeria Referees Association, Alhaji Ahmed Maude, the delegation traveled through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and landed at London Heathrow in the evening. They commenced the two –week exercise on Thursday.
“Honestly, I am highly impressed by the richness of the programme, the content as well as the resource persons who will be handling the various aspects.
“This kind of programme will go a long way in improving Nigerian referees, and I can tell you that we are all determined to pay rapt attention to every aspect of the two –week exercise in order to gain so much,” Ferdinand Udoh, seen as the rising star of Nigerian refereeing, said on Thursday.
The delegation also included the Chairman of NFF Referees Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh. Other referees involved are Shuaibu Abdullahi, Usman Isha, Samuel Pwadutakan, Tope Orowole, Egudia Efosa, Ukah Ndubuisi, Peter Ogwu, Paul Umuago, Musa Dung Davon and Olayide Olayinka.