President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Pinnick has tipped Watford striker Odion Ighalo for the 2016 African Player of the Year award.
The Super Eagles’ star had helped the Hornets secure promotion to the English Premier League and finished 2015 with a calendar-year haul of 30 goals, 14 of which have come in 19 Premier League games.
Judging by the 26-year-old’s impressive outing in England, Pinnick is confident that Nigerian players would be back to challenge for the coveted gong in few years to come.
“In the next award, you will be seeing the likes of Ighalo,” Pinnick told media at the 2015 Glo/Caf awards gala.
“That one is certain. I can assure Nigerians that he (Ighalo) will not just be nominated but winning the award.
Aside lamenting challenges of funding, Pinnick insisted that the country’s football is on the rise accessing its recent success story at various championships in the preceding year.
“If you look at our results in the last six months you will know there it is not a fluke.
“You know that there is an input from somewhere, an intelligent study and the prozone software we acquired is working.
“A lot of things are happening off-the-field that is impacting on-the-field. But it’s not every thing you can say because enemies could use it. I can assure that Nigeria football is going the right direction.
“Football is not just playing the game, other things are involved. The media has a major role to play.
“But when people (media) start throwing tantrums, investors will run away.
“Those other things involved are finance which is a major challenge and the government cannot shoulder this responsibility alone.
On Super Falcons failure to retain the Women National Team of the Year award as reigning champions, he assured that the NFF are on the verge of redefining women football.
“That’s football. What people should realise is that football has come of age. We are redefining women football and everyone will see it in the nearest future,” he concluded.


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