The Ambassador of the Republic of Argentina to Nigeria, His Excellency Alejandro Herrero has called on the South American country and Nigeria to take advantage of football commonalities between the two countries to strengthen their footballing ties.
Herrera during a courtesy call to the NFF President and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Pinnick at the NFF Secretariat, Abuja on Monday said that Nigeria and Argentina “always clash at the FIFA World Cup with narrow wins for Argentina but you have won one Olympic gold medal at our expense [Atlanta 1996 Olympics] and we have won one at your expense [Beijing 2008 Olympics].”
He wants regular games between the men’s teams as well as the women’s teams as well as exchange programmes and meaningful collaboration between the Football Federations and Clubs of both countries.
Pinnick welcomed the possibility of the collaboration as this would benefit the NFF in its drive to accomplish its mission of building a sustainable football culture for Nigeria and fostering the building of a virile football industry – areas in which Argentina has some knowledge and experience.
“Our mission is to build a sustainable football culture for our country, and eventually have a robust football industry that will not only sustain itself but also contribute significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Argentina is a country where the football culture is fully entrenched. Our teams clash all the time at the FIFA World Cup, at the Olympics, at youth tournaments and in friendly matches and both have had their victories.
“We have immense respect for what Argentina has been able to do in football, but you will agree with me that Nigeria has also made immense impact in world football, from youth tournaments to the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. Now, we seek to buoy our football industry to become the big business that it should be.”
Pinnick hinted that both countries could explore the possibility of Argentina Women A team joining the fray at the maiden edition of the First Lady of Nigeria Invitational Tournament being planned for later this year.