Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigeria Football Federation, has jumped to the defense of under-fire Kurt Okraku following Ghana’s poor showing at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ghana failed to win a single match at the tournament. Even against lowly rated Comoros, the Black Stars lost, accounting for the four-time African champions’ worst-ever AFCON performance.
As the leader of Ghana Football, Kurt has come under heavy criticism with some Ghanaians clamouring for his resignation as GFA President.
But Pinnick, who represents Anglophone countries on the FIFA Council, believes the resignation calls are premature because Ghana football is on the right path under the leadership of Okraku and has urged Ghanaians to support him.
“Kurt loves Ghana. He loves to develop the game to the highest level, and I think he should be supported. In life, you have your bad days and your good days. This is just one of the bad times of Ghana,” Pinnick told reporters after the World Cup play-offs draw in Douala, Cameroon.
“They [Ghana] just qualified among the ten teams for the World Cup against South Africa. They did very well so it is not just one bad moment that they [Ghanaians] will crucify him because if you keep doing that, you keep crucifying administrators. Kurt is somebody that is so loved by all his colleagues A to Z.
“I never wanted to play Ghana [in the World Cup play-offs] because of Kurt. People should look at Kurt as somebody who has been able to galvanise that love for Ghana once again and they should respect that. As a FIFA Council Member representing Anglophone, I intend to go to Ghana and see possible I can help, if possible.”
In March, Ghana and Nigeria will renew their long-standing football rivalry as the two West African countries clash for a qualification ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“It is going to be a tough game. Tough, tough game. Ghana, historically, are high up there and based on the fact that they exited Nations Cup in a very humiliating manner. They are going to throw everything into the rings to compensate Ghanaians and the government of Ghana,” Pinnick said in reaction to the draw.
“But in Nigeria, we are not going to rest. Whatever they are going to do, we are going to double. If they are going to trek 10 minutes, we are going to do 20 minutes because in Nigeria we say going to the World Cup, by the special grace of God, is a birthright.”
A day after the draw, Tunisia upset 10-man Nigeria in the last 16 of the Afcon.