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Pinnick ‘proud’ of Eagles despite AFCON ouster, says focus shifts to W’Cup playoffs

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President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick has commended the efforts of the Super Eagles despite their unfortunate defeat to Tunisia on Sunday night.

The Eagles were beaten 1-0 by their Tunisian counterparts in a round of 16 clash at the rescheduled 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) holding in Cameroon.

An outing that began so well with Nigeria clinching maximum points in the group stage following victories over Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau, ended abruptly in the first round of the knockout stage.

But Pinnick, who heads the football body and also a member of the continental football federation committee, said he was proud of the team as he also thanked the country’s leadership for its support.

“We are proud of the efforts of the players. They gave their all and tried very hard to win even when they had numerical disadvantage. It was just not our day,” Pinnick stated.

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“I want to thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his love, support and encouragement to the team while they were in the championship.

“I also praise the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare for his interest and attention in the progress of the team.

“Losing at this stage is painful but we take solace in the great spirit with which the team approached its four matches in Cameroon, out of which it won three.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria have been drawn against the Black Stars of Ghana for the 2022 Qatar World Cup playoffs billed to hold in March.

Pinnick has promised that the team would put in the required work to ensure that Nigeria secure a ticket to the mundial, scheduled for November-December, 2022 in Qatar.

“The focus and attention will now shift to the FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off against Ghana in March.

“We want to assure Nigerians that we will prepare even harder for those two matches to get the job done,” the football chief added.

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