The race towards qualification for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 would not be for the faint hearted hence Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick has called on Nigerians to rally behind the Super Eagles.
The continental soccer ruling body, CAF, had reverted to the format used for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification competition after an initial proposal to merge the qualification rounds for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with those for the World Cup was turned down at its meeting in June 2018.
The Super Eagles have already drawn bye into the second round that will see the top 26 ranked CAF teams joined by the 14 winners from the first round.
The draw for the second round will be held on 21 January at the Nile Ritz-Carlton in Cairo, Egypt and the 40 teams will be drawn into ten groups of four teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches with the winners of each group advancing to the third round-where the second round group winners will play home-and-away over two legs. The five winners qualify for the World Cup.
“The qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be very tricky and we must ensure that we win our matches in order to avoid unnecessary issues because all the top teams would in the end be pooled into one single group,” Pinnick said. “No doubt, we have a very good team but all hands must be on deck; and we must ensure professionalism in all departments from administrative to technical.”
Meanwhile, Pinnick said the NFF would in January move into its headquarter building located inside the package B of the MKO Stadium in Abuja.
The building, named after erstwhile chairman of the then NFA, Sunday Dankaro, was commissioned in 2013 and handed over to the NFF by former Vice-President Namadi Sambo.