The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) says Amaju Pinnick’s election into the CAF Executive Committee has presented Nigeria an opportunity to realign and reassert itself as a major football power.
While congratulating Pinnick, who was elected in Addis Ababa on Thursday, SWAN said Pinnick’s election offers Nigeria a fresh opportunity to be among the leading players in world football.
“While we congratulate you on this resounding victory, we also wish to remind you that it is an opportunity we must all grab with both hands.
“This is because it offers us the fresh opportunity to be among the leading players in world football.
“It is an opportunity for Nigeria to realign and reassert itself as a major football power,” SWAN said in the letter signed by its Secretary-General, Olawale Alabi, on Friday in Abuja.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Presidential and Executive Committee Elections were held at the 39th CAF Ordinary General Assembly in Ethiopia.
The elections also saw the emergence of Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar as the new CAF President, following a 34-20 defeat of Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.
SWAN also said it was confident in the abilities of Pinnick, who is Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, to ensure maximum benefits for Nigerian football in all the necessary areas.
“Pinnick’s election is an opportunity not only for him as an individual, we so much believe in his abilities, but for Nigerian football in general.
“We are therefore hopeful that all members of the Nigerian football family, ranging from young and elite footballers, coaches, referees, administrators, sports journalists, sponsors, fans, etc, will with time feel the impact of your being on the CAF Executive Committee.’’
The Association further called for support for Pinnick from the entire Nigerian football family for him to be able to actualise the mandate of helping to uplift football in Africa.
“It is now no longer his call alone, but that of Nigeria, and we enjoin all stakeholders to rally round Pinnick for him to be able to deliver on the job.
“Being on the CAF Executive Committee should not be the end of the journey for any Nigerian football stakeholder who has been well accepted in the way Pinnick’s victory suggests.
“Bigger opportunities are there ahead for any Nigerian who dares to aspire, once we all rally round to lend support.’’
SWAN also congratulated the new CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad, on his election, and reminded him of the need to take immediate steps to ensure the change he has brought about is full of positive gains.
“Many football enthusiasts have so much hope in the change you have promised, and they will all be expectant that you will in a very short time ensure there are positive gains for African football.’’
The Nigerian sports writing body did not fail to praise former CAF President, Issa Hayatou, for his magnanimity and past efforts.
“Hayatou has done his best, and really deserves praise for his magnanimity in conceding defeat and not leaving the confederation in a state of rancour out of unbridled ambition to continue in office.
“It is noteworthy that he has also left behind worthy legacies, which have seen CAF become financially healthier in the last few years, and he therefore deserves praise.’’