Arsene Wenger held a meeting with the Nigerian FF’s President, Amaju Pinnick this week as reassurances were sought over Arsenal’s Nigerian players.
But the president didn’t just arrive at the meeting hoping to get confirmation that Wenger would allow his youngsters, namely Alex Iwobi and Chuba Akpom, to join up with the Super Eagles, but also to try and recruit the Arsenal manager to help ‘rebuild Nigerian football‘ – a mission Pinnick believes was successful.
The meeting, which was described as ‘extremely positive and encouraging‘ according to the NFF spokesperson, Ademola Olajire, came after Pinnick had met with the players and their parents after taking in the Arsenal game against Middlesbrough at the Emirates on Sunday.
Pinnick himself said of the meeting
“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.
“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”.
With regards to enlisting Wenger to help in “the process of rebuilding the country’s football” Pinnick was not disappointed.
“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”.