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Sports News of Monday, 28 February 2022


2022 World Cup playoff: Nigeria FA boss Pinnick visits Ghana ahead of decisive clash

Amaju Pinnick with Kurt Okraku Amaju Pinnick with Kurt Okraku

Amaju Pinnick, President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has visited Ghana for a noble reason just three weeks before the grudge clash between the two countries for a ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Pinnick, who is also a FIFA Council member, led an African football delegation to mourn with his Ghanaian counterpart Kurt Okraku during the funeral of the father of the GFA President on Friday.

It was initially thought because of the intense rivalry between the two countries and the decisive two-legged matches looming, the two leaders would not be friendly towards each other.

Inspite of the intense rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria and the looming big clash between the two countries in the next few weeks, Pinnick demonstrated his strong bond with Okraku by attending the funeral from his Lagos base.

The President of the NFF was one of many prominent members of the global football family that attended the funeral of late George Offei Simeon Okraku in Accra on Friday.

Pinnick, who leads CAF's Anglophone alliance on FIFA Council (the highest decision-making body in football), flew to Accra Friday morning for the funeral of Simeon Okraku, 96.

“It was important to go to Accra to be with my friend, Simon Okraku as he buried his late father," Pinnick said during the heavily attended funeral in the Ghanaian capital.

"The death of a parent is always a harrowing experience, no matter how old that parent is. As a FIFA Council Member, it is important to ensure that we have warm relationships among ourselves within and without the Anglophone coalition.”

Kurt Okraku (51), has been the President of Ghana Football Association since October 2019 and has since formed a strong relationship with Pinnick who is a mentor of the Ghanaian administrator on continental football politics.

The ceremony took place at the Officers Mess, opposite the 37 Military Hospital on Friday February 25, 2022.

Pinnick, representing the CAF's Anglophone alliance on the FIFA Council, landed in Accra Friday morning to help GFA President get through this difficult time.

Okraku's father George Simeon Okraku Alias "Decide" passed away on Sunday, November 21, 2021 following a brief illness.

Ghana will face Nigeria towards the end of next month to decide one of Africa's five place at the World Cup.

The Black Stars will take on the Super Eagles in Cape Coast before travelling to Abuja for the second-leg.