Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, has commended the efforts of the Flying Eagles team that crashed out of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand on Thursday, insisting the boys were not disgraced.
“When things turn out this way, we look at the positives,” Pinnick said in a release from the NFF made available to completesportsnigeria.com.
“Which is why I will call on us all to congratulate this set of players because they certainly made us proud.
“They played with finesse and grace; real potential for the future of our game. The crowd loved them at the two venues where they played, and the unity in the team showed in the way they conducted themselves all through the tournament.”
Pinnick was philosophical about Thursday’s 1-0 defeat by a vastly superior Germany team that saw the Flying Eagles eliminated in Christchurch.
He added: “Football is about winning; but winning has different dimensions. We may not have won today, but we have won a battle to take our desired dream one step further. Our dream being, to not just win matches and trophies, but to develop a sustainable football culture for Nigeria.
“With the adoption of the scheme where our 2013 U-17 World Cup winners were elevated almost en bloc to become our U-20 team, we have seen enough to tell us that this same U-20 group that played and lost today, is good enough to become the future of our football. And we will continue to encourage that the group be kept together and grow together to give us a winning senior squad.
“With encouragement from everyone – the Federation, media and our highly enlightened ball fans – we can inject a few technical aspects to support this group to become the best in the not-too-distant future.
“Our focus shifts to Canada and the Super Falcons now, and the Super Eagles that begin the race for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday. But I remain in awe and admiration at the efforts of the Flying Eagles’ players and technical crew.”