The Guild of Sports Editors has unequivocally told Amaju Pinnick and the board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) he heads that they should be ready to resign if Nigeria fails to qualify for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Nigeria will be play Ghana in the World Cup playoff in March and the umbrella association of managers of sports in the country’s major media houses say Nigeria must be in Qatar later this year to atone for the misadventure to Cameroun for the AFCON 2021.
The Guild has also urged the NFF to, without delay, announce and empower Super Eagles Interim Coach, Augustine Eguavoen, as the manager of the senior national team for the games in March.
The Guild noted that time is too late for the NFF to start talking of picking a foreign coach for the task of qualifying Nigeria for Qatar 2022 and said Eguavoen has shown that given adequate support he can return the Super Eagles to the summit of world football.
Rising from a meeting in Lagos at the weekend, the body said, “Nigerians will not forgive the NFF if it bungles the country’s bid to qualify for the World Cup.”
Speaking through its president, Mr. Tony Ubani, the Guild said: “Qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup is the most important task before managers of the country’s football. They must ensure that nothing goes wrong.
“The whole world saw in Cameroun that Nigeria’s problem is not hinged on lack of quality players. Rather, the country was held down by a lethargic system, which did not allow the players opportunity to express their talents.
“Within a few weeks of taking over the team, Eguavoen unleashed the potential in the Super Eagles such that he was voted as the best coach of the first round at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroun.
“Although we lost, unfortunately, in the round of 16, Eguavoen has created a plank on which the Super Eagles can thread to success given the necessary support.
“We, therefore, call on the NFF to, as a matter of urgency, name and empower Eguavoen to start preparing the Super Eagles for the games against Ghana. Time is of essence.”
Warning that Nigerians will not forgive the NFF if the Eagles failed to pick one of the five Qatar 2022 tickets, the Guild of Editors told members of the federation’s board to be ready to resign en mass should the country fail to qualify for the World Cup.
The body also reminded Sports Minister, Chief Sunday Dare, that qualifying and performing creditably at the 2022 World Cup is the biggest sports assignment facing the Federal Government this year.
“The minister should, therefore, provide the enabling environment for the NFF to prepare the Super Eagles for the games against Ghana.
“Fortunately, the Federal Government has brought the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja back to life. There are also other quality stadiums to host the Nigerian leg of the matches, so, the focus should now be solely on preparing the national team for the matches,” the body said.