Sports News of Sunday, 1 February 2015
The President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick returns to CAF duty on Sunday as Match Commissioner of the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal clash between Ghana’s Black Stars and Syli Nationale of Guinea at the Nuevo Estadio do Malabo.
Since the commencement of the tournament on January 17 in Equatorial Guinea, Pinnick had taken charge of four matches. Today’s game in Malabo will be his fifth CAF duty in the championship.
Pinnick was in-charge of the match between the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire and the Syli Nationale of Guinea at the group stage. He was also appointed Match Commissioner for the game between the Lions of Cameroon versus Mali.
His third game was the clash between Mali and Guinea before the crucial last group game between Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroun.
Before jetting out to Malabo yesterday morning, Pinnick told The Guardian that the clash between the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire and Lions of Cameroon was his biggest challenge so far in the tournament.
Cameroon lost the game to crash out, no thanks to a lone strike by ex-Leeds winger, Max Gradel. His goal was one of the best so far in the competition. The pace, swerve and accuracy of the shot was too much for Lions keeper.
There were 61 fouls during that game, which is the most ever recorded in an Africa Cup of Nations game.
“That game was full of tension and drama all through. It was the most challenging game I have commissioned so far in this Nations Cup,” Pinnick said.
Incidentally, the NFF boss is returning to the same Malabo Stadium today to take charge of the quarterfinal match between the Black Stars of Ghana and Syli Nationale of Guinea.
Guinea, which some fans have tagged ‘Ebola FC’ narrowly made the quarterfinal stage at the expense of Mali through the drawing of lots.
1976 runner-up Guinea and 1972 runner-up Mali had finished on equal number of points and goals scored in their Group D, and also drew the clash between the two teams, necessitating drawing of lots in Malabo last Thursday.
Pinnick said yesterday that he was excited over the level of confidence reposed on him by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), adding that he would continue to do his best for football to grow in Africa.