Qatar 2022 Race: Pinnick confident of Eagles’ strength-in-depth as he watches Etebo’s first training at Watford

Qatar 2022 Race: Pinnick confident of Eagles’ strength-in-depth as he watches Etebo’s first training at Watford

President of the Nigeria Football Federation and FIFA Council Member,Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick was in ecstasy at Hertfordshire, England onSaturday as he watched the first training session of Nigeria midfieldace, Oghenekaro Etebo who recently joined English Premiership sideWatford FC from Turkey’s Galatasaray.Hard-tackling Etebo has been a key figure in the Super Eagles’ set-upsince impressing at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, where the U23 boyswon Team Nigeria’s only medal at the games – a bronze. He featuredprominently in the qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup,played at the FIFA World Cup in Russia and also featured in thequalifying race and finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He wasalso influential in the squad that won the ticket to the 2021 AFCON.

“Watford FC is gradually becoming a Super Eagles’ camp,” said abeaming Pinnick as he met with Club’s Technical Director, CristianoGiaretta. “I told Mr Giaretta that we have six players at Watford FCnow and three of them are regular Super Eagles teamers and therefore,we need to forge a stronger relationship with the club. Watford isreturning to the Premiership in the coming season, so it is a goodfeeling all around.”

Apart from Etebo, there are also at Watford FC Super Eagles’ deputyskipper William Ekong, forward Emmanuel Dennis, former juniorinternationals Isaac Success and Tom Dele-Bashiru, and little-knownDapo Mebude.

Between 2014 and 2017, former Super Eagles’ star Jude Odion Ighalo(top scorer at the 2019 AFCON) pulled up some trees at Watford FC,scoring a total of 36 goals in 90 matches in all for the Hornets.

“It is important to build these relationships. I am scheduled to meetwith the Club President and CEO of Watford FC in the coming weeks, andI also plan to meet with the CEOs of Leicester and Everton FC. We arelooking ahead to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the 2021 AFCONtaking place early next year and relationships, understanding andmutual respect are key elements in the mix of release and return ofplayers.”