President of world football –governing body FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino has showered encomiums on the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick as the latter marked his birthday anniversary on Wednesday, 1st December 2021.
“This past year, which has presented us with many challenges, has nevertheless shown and highlighted the exemplary unity and solidarity of the football world, and I can only reiterate my sincere thanks to you for your efforts, work and contribution within the FIFA Council,” Infantino wrote in a letter personally signed by him to a fellow Member of the FIFA Council.
The Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, which Pinnick has led brilliantly for the past seven years and two months, also heaped plaudits on the debonair and formidable administrator as he celebrated on Wednesday.
General Secretary of the NFF and Secretary to the Board, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said Mr Pinnick has demonstrated exemplary leadership and remains one of the most innovative and energetic leaders that Nigeria Football has seen in a long time.
“The past year has been quite challenging but we are happy to have a leader like Mr Pinnick who has never been shy to lead from the front and courageously confront odds, hurdles and obstacles in the way of Nigeria Football. He is an altruistically visionary leader who never looks back once he decides on the best pathways forward.”
In the past year, the NFF and the National Teams have accomplished tremendous gains in a number of areas, including qualification of the Super Eagles for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations, qualification of the Super Falcons for the final round of the 2022 Women AFCON and qualification of the Super Eagles for the play-off round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals. The NFF also organized a first –ever international women’s invitational tournament that had the top African women teams on parade (Aisha Buhari Cup) and the Super Falcons and Super Eagles have fullu utilized FIFA windows for friendly matches and camping progammes.
At the end of last year, globally –renown auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) awarded the NFF a ‘clean opinion’ in its financial accounting and governance procedures, and despite pandemic –imposed squeeze on businesses worldwide, the NFF continues to attract gilt-edged corporate partnership, with Dettol, Revolution Plus, Air Peace, MTN and Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu) all signing up to support the NFF and the National Teams.
On personal front, Pinnick spearheaded the successful campaign of South African, Dr Patrice Motsepe to become President of the Confederation of African Football, and himself became only the third Nigerian to win election into the FIFA Council – the highest decision-making organ in world football. Pinnick is also Member of the CAF Emergency and Executive Committees.
“Mr Pinnick is a charismatic administrator worthy of adulation and emulation. His charisma and gravitas have emboldened the innovation and legacy projects that we are presently undertaking at the NFF. Another part of Mr Pinnick that many people may not be aware of is his commitment to humanitarian work and philantrophy. That story will be told in full some day,” Dr Sanusi added.