President, Nigerian Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, says if immediate past President of Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou, were to be in office, the Super Eagles’ qualification for the 2018 World Cup would have been a tall order.
Cameroonian Hayatou’s 29-year reign as the CAF President ended in March 2017 when he was defeated by Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad.
During his tenure, the Lions of Cameroun qualified six times for the World Cup, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014.
Grouped alongside the Super Eagles, the latter had it easy qualifying losing no match on the pitch. Their perfect runs was blighted in the boardroom where FIFA overruled the result of their last match against Algeria which ended in deadlock and awarded three points to the Desert Warriors.
However, Pinnick hinted that if Hayatou were to be in office he would have influenced the outcome of the matches, adding that he ran for a seat in CAF to protect Nigeria’s interest.
His word, “I confided in some executive members of the NFF of the need to contest the CAF seat. I told them that if we did not qualify for the World Cup, we are finished. With Nigeria grouped alongside Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia, it would have been difficult upstaging Cameroon because of Issa Hayatou.
“This informed my decision to put my hat in the ring, I had to take the risk, and today it paid off. Running for CAF seat was not because of personal ambition but because of the desire to ensure that the Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup.”