Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick has on Friday been elected into FIFA Council.
He was elected at Confederation of African Football’s 43rd General Assembly in Rabat, Morocco.
Following a spate of withdrawals from the race by Lamine Bajo (Gambian), Nicholas Mwendwa (Kenya), Wallace Karia (Tanzania) and Andrew Kamanga (Zambia), Pinnick and incumbent Walter Nyamilandu were left in the race
Pinnick defeated Malawian FA president, Walter Nyamilandu by 43 votes to eight during the Caf General Assembly held in Rabat on Friday.
The 50-year-old becomes the third Nigerian elected into the prestigious council after Oyo Orok Oyo (1980-1988) and Amos Adamu (2006-2010).
Nicholas Mendwa, President of Kenya FA pulled out of the race on Friday morning. Prior to Mwendwa’s decision, he was campaigning vigorously hoping to snatch the seat.
Also, one of the biggest contender, Andrew Kamanga of Zambia pulled out of the race two days ago to clear the path for Pinnick to swoop for his votes.
Pinnick also becomes the fifth Vice-President of CAF, joining other CAF vice presidents; Augustin Senghor (first Vice- President), Ahmed Yahya (second Vice- President), Souleiman Waberi (third Vice- President) and Fouzi Lekjaa (fourth Vice- President).
The Nigerian will now be joined by Egypt’s Hany Abou Rida, Morocco’s Fouzi Lekjaa, Mali’s Mamoutou Toure, Benin’s Mathurin De Chacus and Sierra Leone’s Aisha Johansen in the main decision-making organisation of the world football governing body.
Prior to his success at the polls, Pinnick’s ambition was backed by Federal Government of Nigeria in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Nebolisa Anako.
The statement partly reads;
On behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, and all Nigerians, we hereby pledge our unflinching support to Mr Pinnick because his victory would be our collective victory.
[Sports Minister] Mr Dare believes Amaju can use his position and connections in Caf and Fifa to help promote and develop Nigeria and African football in all ramifications.
Let us be resolute and firm in our support…This is no time to stand on the fence, but to be partakers in the scheme of things.
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