Football Football

Nigeria joins forces with Arsenal


CHUBA-AKPOMLONDON, February 19- Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick is pleased with the “extremely positive and encouraging” meeting he had with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The pair held talks at Wenger’s office in London to discuss a wide range of issues, including the topic of Nigerian-born players in the Gunners’ squad, such as Chuba Akpom and Semi Ajayi.

Pinnick had concerns regarding reports that European teams were steering young Nigerian players toward representing their adopted European countries instead of the Super Eagles.

However, Wenger reportedly allayed those fears, saying that he encouraged young footballers to play for whichever national team they felt most comfortable with.

“As we had always known, Arsene is very knowledgeable; vast in his knowledge and appreciation of Nigeria as a footballing country, and widely philosophical in his general approach,” Pinnick was quoted as saying in the official statement after the meeting.

“He told me that he has never stopped any player from opting for whichever national team he wants. He said to me that he always tells his players to follow their hearts and not allow people to push them.

“He further assured that if Nigeria extended a call-up to either or both of his players, he will have no objection if the players say they want to go.

“Arsene told us that he will gladly do what he can to assist where we want, and has already started giving encouraging signs towards the capacity building exercises for our coaches at all levels.”