Mixed reactions trail Pinnick's apology after FIFA sanction - FCNaija

World Cup 2018 By: Ambrose Udeme | 13/12/2017

Nigerians all over the world have reacted to NFF president Amaju Melvin Pinnick's apology following FIFA's hammer on Nigeria for the use of an ineligible player during the just concluded 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

FIFA, on Tuesday, rejected Nigeria’s defence for fielding an ineligible player during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Constantine on Friday, November 10, 2017, thus awarding the match to home team.

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Defender Abdullahi Shehu had conceded a yellow card in the previous match against Zambia in Uyo on October 7, 2017. It was his second booking of the tournament, the first coming against Swaziland in the preliminary round. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee decided that “The Nigerian Football Federation is liable for having breached art.55 par.1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and art. 8 of the 2018 Regulations of the FIFA World Cup, Russia.

In the aftermath of the FIFA sanction, Pinnick who under his watch Nigeria experienced the smoothest passage to a World Cup final -void of internal rancour and clashes with officials and players took to Twitter on Wednesday, tendering a public apology to the most populated black nation in the world.

"Good morning. I'll start by tendering my wholehearted apology to Nigeria and Nigerians for the Shehu Abdullahi error. It is unforgivable and could have undone months of hard work. As head of the Federation, I take responsibility for this. It happened on my watch.

"While accepting the Federation's fault here, let me quickly explain how this went by unnoticed. It doesn't change the fact that we didn't keep our eyes on the ball and will help us in our planned restructuring of the Technical & Competitions Department.

"Shehu Abdullahi got his first yellow card in our very first preliminary match against Swaziland away. When the draws for the Group Stages were made, the Technical staff made a grave error; assumption. They assumed the cards gotten prior would not count. To be fair to them, through out the qualifying series, official match documents didn't even show that Shehu Abdullahi was on a yellow card. For instance, when we played Cameroon, Mikel, Moses and Balogun were put on notice that they had yellow cards.

"Team meetings were even held about how to handle their cards so they wouldn't miss crucial games. Shehu Abdullahi was never in the mix. Shehu then recieved a yellow against Zambia in our penultimate game, two years after the Swaziland match. Another grave mistake then occurred. Fifa sent an email to the technical officer in charge, that Shehu Abdullahi was suspended for the Algeria match. In a twist of fate, that officer was in hospital, with a severe heart condition, battling for his life.

"The biggest knock to our system is the fact that his official correspondences should have been forwarded to more than one person. It wasn't. We went into our last match not knowing about Fifa's notice. Not acceptable, I agree, but these are the facts of the matter. On the match day, we were unaware, the match officials were unaware and our opponents were unaware. It was a horrendous error and we at the Federation are truly apologetic. We thank God it did not undue years of hard work.

"It was a lack of due diligence in and by one of our departments and we are ensuring that errors like these never happen again. On behalf of all of us at the @thenff; I apologise, Nigeria. Our focus remains. We will soar higher."

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While some Nigerians have lauded the NFF head for what they described as a 'un-Nigerian' attitude especially in a country where leaders don't own up to their flaws, others are still demanding that the former Delta State FA boss tender his resignation for being a failure and should take with him those found culpable of the inexcusable error as he quits the Glass House.

Here we bring you Twitter reactions of Nigerians in response to Pinnick's tweet: