Nigeria Football Federation president Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has cast doubt about this season’s AITEO Cup taking place amid the disruption to the domestic football calendar by the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal government ordered a halt to all sporting activities three weeks ago as the spread of the virus escalated in Nigeria where the number of infected people has crossed the 200 mark at present.
Appearing on a breakfast programme on Arise TV on Monday, Pinnick praised the government’s response in tackling the global pandemic.
The NFF president noted that the timely strategies deployed by the federal government ensured Nigeria has been spared the sort of impact currently being witnessed in many Western countries.
“I want to commend the Federal Government for the efforts so far in tackling this pandemic. The Government’s strategy across all the States of the Federation has paid off and it is incumbent on all of us citizens to join the global army to fight this virus off the planet Earth,” Pinnick said.
“On our part at the NFF. We are working with stakeholders, taking a cue from (world football–governing body) FIFA to intervene in certain areas.”
Highlighting the impact of the pandemic on the domestic football sector which has been shut down since 19 March, Pinnick stated that there is some uncertainty about whether the 2019/2020 Federation Cup would hold.
He suggested that an abridged version competition could be staged but that a final decision will be reached after consultations with the competition’s sponsors.
“We will sit down with our (official premium) partners AITEO with regards to the AITEO Cup competition, to see how we can still put this year’s edition together,” Pinnick said.
“We don’t know if we can still hold it this year or maybe we will do an abridged competition.
“There is also the AITEO/NFF Awards (in its third edition). This year’s edition is meant to celebrate the Super Falcons. We have plans to celebrate them and the FIFA president was supposed to attend but we don’t know how to go about it. So, we will sit down with our sponsors to figure things out.”
Kano Pillars and Nasarawa Amazons are the current holders of the men’s and women’s AITEO Cup.