President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick was still somewhat downcast wednesday, but has assured that heartfelt disappointment over elimination from the FIFA World Cup finals has given way to fresh determination of ensuring qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles lost narrowly 1-2 to perennial bogey team Argentina in Saint Petersburg, even when it appeared they were cruising with five minutes left in the encounter. Pinnick said the depression was more about getting so close to a place in the knockout rounds and yet having to go home early from football’s biggest houseparty.
“It was sad losing out when it appeared easier to progress from the group stage. I believe the players did their utmost and wanted to get the better of Argentina for the first time at the World Cup. Losing that way, with few minutes to go, really dampened the spirit.
“We apologize to all Nigerians from far and near, those who came to Russia to support the team and those who watched on television. Our expectation was for a place in the knockout rounds but that didn’t happen. We will go home and prepare harder for the next finals. In truth, ours is a young and vibrant team capable of learning and getting better, and these attributes hold that the future is bright.”