NFF president Amaju Pinnick said the only way the Super Eagles can appease football fans in the country is to go to Freetown and beat Sierra Leone 4-0 in the return leg of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers on Tuesday, NGNewsHub.com reports.
The Eagles shockingly surrendered a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 against the Leone Stars.
Speaking to the players inside their dressing room, Pinnick described it as the worst result he has experienced as NFF chairman.
“I will say it the way it is in my heart and the heart of so many Nigerians. The truth is that we can’t be leading 4-0 against Sierra Leone and concede four goals for no reason,” Pinnick said in a video with the players published on the Super Eagles YouTube channel.
“Since I became the NFF president this is the worst result I’ve seen in my life. Next few days I wonder how I’m going to sleep. It’s not because of losing or we won’t qualify for the Nations Cup, it’s certainly because this is towards the end of the year, you know the passion and love Nigerians have for this game.
“It’s football, it can go either way but what happened to us? Were we complacent? Were we so comfortable that we were leading 4-0 and all of a sudden the goals start coming in? At the end of the day nobody is going to call your name, it’s the coach and Amaju Pinnick. That is the truth. Unfortunately he is not the one on the pitch. I saw the reaction of your captain after they score the fourth goal and I shed tears for the first time in a long time.
“That spirit of competition is not there anymore, to me that’s the truth. I’m not the coach but if I’m the coach there are some people that will not come to the team again and that’s the truth.
“Nigeria has 200 million people and should consider ourselves privileged playing for the national team. It hurt all of us I cannot think of anything else because we put in a lot, I did a check list, the flight, the immigration, custom, everything, just to make sure that everything goes seamlessly.
This is Nigeria, it is a big country. We don’t wake up playing Sierra Leone, you wake up playing Brazil, you wake up playing Argentina, you wake up playing Senegal.
“If it was just a scoreless draw, it would have been a different ball game, from the defence to the midfield off, also the attack. If there is anything that will make us be that proud footballing nation, it’s for us to go to Sierra Leone and beat them 4-0.
“It’s not just winning, winning is an understatement, it’s to make sure we give them that 4-0 and make sure they don’t score even one, that is the only thing we will do from the blast of the whistle till the end of the game.”
Pinnick further added:”I’m bothered about our ranking, I’m bothered about so many things that possibly you people are not bothered about we take the blame everyday. I sat down to look at the check list, call the secretary, call the team doctor everyday, I’m the president but I took charge because of the importance of this game to you and to Nigerians. I’m very pained, I’m very emotional now.
“When I was coming to meet you I was told to cheer you up I said no I can’t cheer you up and remain pained, let us suffer the emotion together I won’t cheer you up, not anymore. I’ve told you and I mean it, I will see your coach and there are somethings we are not going to accept anymore.
“The beauty about falling down is resurgent enough to bounce back. Bounce back in a grand style because what you have done is that you have given them confidence that Nigeria is beatable.
“We must go to Freetown and beat them at least four goals so that they will know truly the Eagles have landed. So we should double our effort and go to Freetown and win that game by 4-0 because it is very symbolic so that they will know that what happened in Nigeria was a fluke.”
By James Agberebi
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