Chairman of The English Football Association, Mr. Greg Dyke has pledged to do everything possible to promote collaboration with the Nigeria Football Federation.
Dyke spoke on Tuesday at a meeting with NFF President, Amaju Pinnick at the offices of The FA at Wembley Stadium, London.
At the meeting, Pinnick extolled the virtues of the FA, and his admiration for the English football culture, and not for the first time, spoke of his desire to build a sustainable football culture in Nigeria, telling his English counterpart that: “For many reasons, we have every reason to want to work with you. Apart from the fact that England colonized our country, and that London remains a first stop for many of our country’s people looking to sojourn abroad, we also see you as ideal and perfect role models against which we would want to build our game”.
Continuing, the Delta-born administrator said: “We admire the culture of football you have here. While you do not have the best results at international level, the football culture here is second to none, and we want to learn from you.”
Pinnick spoke of areas where he wanted collaboration with the FA, viz, working on technical support and development of Nigeria football, providing support and advise on all areas of administration and leadership.
Greg Dyke spoke of his interest in Africa, stating that his wife, having spent many years in Uganda in the past, had influenced him to becoming a fan of the continent. In his words: “Anytime I go to Africa and I am leaving, I look back and tell myself – ‘I can live here’.”.
Dyke, who promised to honour an invitation to visit Nigeria soon, expressed his interest in establishing strong relations internationally. “After we lost our 2018 Bid (to host the FIFA World Cup), it became apparent that we needed to build our international ties, and we need true friends, so I am very keen on this.”
Amaju Pinnick rounded up his visit by bringing to the notice of his English counterpart that the last time England played Nigeria in a friendly was more than 20 years ago. “We believe it is time we had an England/Nigeria match at Wembley, and we have done our homework and found that you have nothing on in the FIFA window in October,” he said.
Dyke immediately instructed that his aides should take it up with the department managing the England National Team, and promised to speak to manager Roy Hodgson about it. It was agreed that should the October date not be feasible, then there should be an England/Nigeria friendly at the next available opportunity