Maigari: Fresh start in Nigeria

A Nigerian Football Association (NFF) delegation, headed by association President Alhaji Aminu Mohammed Maigari, visited the Home of FIFA in Zurich on Thursday 3 February 2011 for talks with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. Maigari, who took office in August 2010, spoke to FIFA.com after the meeting.

FIFA.com: What brings you to the Home of FIFA today?
President Maigari:
I had the opportunity and the honour of paying the FIFA President a visit. We held very interesting talks, during which I informed President Blatter about the latest developments in Nigerian football.

What are your priorities for the next few years?
Our goal is to maintain Nigerian football’s steady development, although to ensure we continue our development, we have to improve our structures. We’re very grateful to FIFA for its valuable support in this respect. It's a time of transition for our national team at the moment, and we’re working very hard with technical advisors to form a restructured, competitive team as quickly as we can.

Nigeria were eliminated from the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ after collecting just one point in the group stage. What are your reasons for optimism about the future?
The tournament highlighted our problems, and we’ve learned our lessons from that. Naturally, our immediate goal is to return to competitiveness by putting together a team capable of giving any other side in the world a decent game. Obviously, we’re aware this won’t happen overnight, so we’ll need a little time. But we’ve put the requisite development schemes in place, and our hope is we’ll soon have a new team which the nation can be proud of.

Nigeria qualified for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ as African champions. How far could the Super Falcons go?
We’re optimistic about our chances at the Women’s World Cup. The team still has some way to go in terms of realising its potential, but winning the African Championship gives us plenty to build on. Our goal is to repeat the achievement of 1999 in the USA and reach the quarter-finals. Once we’ve achieved that, we’ll see what happens.