President of the Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick was in ecstasy at Hertfordshire, England on Saturday as he watched the first training session of Nigeria midfield ace, Oghenekaro Etebo who recently joined English Premiership side Watford FC from Turkey’s Galatasaray and expressed confidence over Super Eagles Qatar 2022 possible qualification.
The hard-tackling Etebo has been a key figure in the Super Eagles’ set-up since impressing at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, where the U23 boys won Team Nigeria’s only medal at the games – a bronze. He featured prominently in the qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, played at the FIFA World Cup in Russia and also featured in the qualifying race and finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He was also influential in the squad that won the ticket to the 2021 AFCON.
“Watford FC is gradually becoming a Super Eagles’ camp,” said an excited Pinnick as he met with Club’s Technical Director, Cristiano Giaretta.
“I told Mr Giaretta that we have six players at Watford FC now and three of them are regular Super Eagles teamers and therefore, we need to forge a stronger relationship with the club. Watford is returning to the Premiership in the coming season, so it is a good feeling all around,” Pinnick said.
Apart from Etebo, there are also at Watford FC Super Eagles’ deputy skipper William Ekong, forward Emmanuel Dennis, former junior internationals Isaac Success and Tom Dele-Bashiru, and little-known Dapo Mebude.
Between 2014 and 2017, former Super Eagles’ star Jude Odion Ighalo (top scorer at the 2019 AFCON) pulled up some trees at Watford FC, scoring a total of 36 goals in 90 matches in all for the Hornets.
“It is important to build these relationships. I am scheduled to meet with the Club President and CEO of Watford FC in the coming weeks, and I also plan to meet with the CEOs of Leicester and Everton FC. We are looking ahead to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the 2021 AFCON taking place early next year and relationships, understanding and mutual respect are key elements in the mix of release and return of players,” Pinnick concluded.