NFF boss, Amaju Pinnick says preparations for AFCON 2019 on course

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President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, says preparations for the 2019 edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament is on course.

Pinnick, the first Vice-President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), said he receives daily reports from the various sub-committees in Egypt preparing for the big event.

“Preparations have been going on very well. I have daily reports from the various sub-committees and the administration.

“I believe that Egypt will put up a spectacular performance in terms of organisation and running of the events because they have invested so much,” Pinnick said.

The NFF boss said that the 24-team format for the 2019 edition will give more teams the opportunity to participate in the tournament.

Three countries, Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt took part in the first CAF tournament held in Sudan in 1957. Egypt won the maiden edition. The format for the tournament changed to eight teams and later 16 teams.

“The new format has given so many countries the privilege of being in AFCON. For instance, Madagascar, Burundi and Mauritania couldn’t have been in the tournament if there was no 24-team format.

“The new format also has economic advantage because the more games you play, the more television rights and the merrier. It has other advantages for football in the continent,” he said.

Egypt will host the tournament in six centres under the new 24-team format from June 21 to July 19.


Anthony Nlebem

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AFCON 2019: NFF appoints Okocha, Kanu, Babangida as Super Eagles scouts

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has appointed former Super Eagles’ captains Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu, as well as former star winger Tijani Babangida as scouts and movitational figures for Nigeria’s campaign at the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Egypt this summer.

According to NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the three legends will monitor the activities of the Super Eagles’ opponents leading to the finals in Egypt and report to Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr, and will continue their assignment in Egypt during the championship.

“Okocha, Kanu and Babangida served Nigeria meritoriously as players and we believe they have the capacity to excel in this particular assignment. They will also serve as role models for our young team in Egypt,” Dr Sanusi told on Tuesday.

Okocha was a key member of the much –fancied Golden Generation, which qualified Nigeria for her first FIFA World Cup finals, won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time on away soil and impressed in reaching the Round of 16 at Nigeria’s debut in the World Cup in 1994. The team was named the second most entertaining team of the finals behind champions Brazil.

The flamboyant midfielder also captained the Super Eagles to the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, where he was named Player of the Tournament. He played in three FIFA World Cup finals for Nigeria.

Kanu narrowly missed the cut for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, but captained the Nigeria U23 team to win Africa’s first Olympic football gold in Atlanta, USA in 1996 and was a member of the squad that finished as runners-up in the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations. He also played in three FIFA World Cup finals for Nigeria.

Babangida was …