The Nigeria Football Federation and the Government of Maryland havehighlighted and agreed on a number of co-operation programmes designedto enhance the development of football in the country Nigeria and theState of Maryland, an important mid-Atlantic State in the UnitedStates of America.
At a meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on Wednesday, 30th June 2021,President of the NFF and a Member of the FIFA Council, Mr Amaju MelvinPinnick and the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Boyd Rutherfordagreed on a number of collaborative areas including but not limited tominimum of one friendly match with Nigeria’s Super Eagles and SuperFalcons in FIFA window opportunities; utilization of the platform tocreate a symbiotic economic relationship in broader areas of economicdevelopment; leveraging of the Baltimore-Maryland 2026 platform/assetsto create added value for NFF Sponsors for broader activations; focuson youth development programmes and; the development of a formalsister city relations to cover football development and stadiummanagement.
Baltimore, the largest city in the State of Maryland, is a candidatecity for hosting of matches of the 48 –team 2026 FIFA World Cupfinals, which has already been awarded to the triumvirate of USA,Mexico and Canada.
Pinnick, who was in Baltimore on a specific invitation by theGovernment of Maryland, said he was enthusiastic about the agreementand wished Baltimore-Maryland good luck in its desire to be a HostCity for the 2026 FIFA World Cup finals. The invite was premised onthe enormous respect that the Government of Maryland has for Nigeriaas a nation and the NFF as an institution. Lieutenant GovernorRutherford confessed to being a great fan of the Super Eagles, whodazzled the world in an impressive debut at the FIFA World Cup in theUSA 27 years ago, while the Nigeria U23 squad (with many players ofthe same Super Eagles’ team), spectacularly won Africa’s first Olympicfootball gold also in the USA two years later.
The meeting was foregrounded by the Super Falcons’ debut in thepopular USWNT Summer Series with matches in the State of Texas, wherethe nine-time African champions squared up to four-time worldchampions and four-time Olympic champions USA for the first time in afriendly match, and actually mounted a spirited fight despite losing0-2. It also came three days before the Nigeria National Team’s clashwith Mexico’s Senior Team in another friendly in the State of California.
The occasion equally held against the background of the fact that in apost-pandemic world, strategic partnerships, collaborations andsymbiotic relationships will rule the roost. Both Pinnick andRutherford were sanguine about the incipient relationship fanning outto the wider canvass of concrete economic and infrastructuralbenefits.
Also present at the meeting were Terry Hasseltine (President ofBaltimore-Maryland 2026 World Cup Host Candidate City); Bunmi Jinadu(Special Advisor, Baltimore-Maryland 2026); Mark Newgent (Deputy Chiefof Staff to Maryland Lt. Governor); Al Hutchinson (President, VisitBaltimore); Ted Carter (Baltimore City’s Deputy Mayor for Communityand Economic Development); Michael Huber (Chief of Staff to BaltimoreMayor Brandon Scott); Graham Whaples (Media Relations,Baltimore-Maryland 2026); Michael J. Frenz (Executive Director,Maryland Stadium Authority) and; Roy Sommerhof (Senior Vice President,Stadium Operations).