The Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, has assured that Nigeria football teams will be back at the Olympic Games in 2024 after failing to make the cut for the just concluded Tokyo Olympics.
Both Nigeria men’s and women’s football teams failed to qualify from the continent but Pinnick has not only assured on qualification for Paris but he believes the country will compete for Gold.
“I also pledge that our football teams will return to the Games in three years’ time in Paris and compete favourably for the gold medals,” Pinnick was quoted as saying in an official statement issued by the NFF on Tuesday.
Curiously, instead of the NFF to be having fond memories of their bronze winning feat in Rio 2016, they appear to still be haunted by the sad episodes around the Nigeria team blamed on the then sports minister, Solomon Dalung.
The NFF in its statement described the incumbent sports minister, Sunday Dare, as a completely different breed compared to Mr Dalung who was accused of being divisive.
“The Sports Minister (Sunday Dare), in his personal capacity and the Ministry of Sports as a body worked their socks off. The Honourable Minister was exemplary; he explained, encouraged and empathized with the athletes as necessary and led the cheer at most of the venues where Nigerian athletes competed.
“He is such a wonderful breath of fresh air from the immediate Minister of Sports who rather constituted himself into a bulwark and divisive force against Nigerian athletes at the last Olympics in Brazil.
“We do not wish to recall his inglorious remarks against the football team when the team was camping in the USA. That football team eventually ended up winning Team Nigeria’s only medal – a bronze – at the Games,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Pinnick affirmed he was also particularly delighted at the performance of multi-talented Ese Brume, who won bronze in the women’s Long Jump event.
“I am happy for Ese (Brume) because I played a role in her discovery and nurturing. I am fulfilled at her career progression and I believe she will be there in Paris in three years’ time to win the gold medal.”
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