Pinnick to NPFL players: I will not allow you to join ‘mushroom clubs’ in Europe

The federation’s top official assures young players that his administration will do everything possible to help them progress

Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick has asked football agents to stop taking players from the country to unknown leagues in Europe.

Instead, Pinnick, who also serves as a Fifa official, has promised to help players from the West African nation to join top clubs in major leagues in Europe giving examples of Villarreal, Valencia, and Lille.

The FA President was speaking while addressing home-based Super Eagles players in Los Angeles on Saturday night ahead of their friendly against Mexico.

The team suffered a 4-0 defeat during the friendly staged at the Los Angeles Coliseum, a double from Atletico Madrid star Hector Herrera and lone goals from Rogelio Funes Mori and Jonathan dos Santos steered El Tri to a comfortable victory as they wrapped up preparations for their 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup campaign which will begin on July 11.

“If you’re living in Nigeria, you’re going to a top club. Villarreal, Valencia, Lille, and all those proud footballing clubs and not to one mushroom club that you’re better off,” he said as quoted by

With players eager to move to Europe, most NPFL players are known for making moves abroad in the name of seeking greener pastures but according to Pinnick, his administration will do everything possible to help them get top clubs.

“I want to expose you, people, to the highest levels so when you’re going to a foreign club, and we won’t allow any agent take you to countries like Cyprus, Belarus, etc., no, never we won’t allow it and I will make sure no transfer is issued on situations like that.”

Sunday’s result extended Mexico’s dominance over Nigeria, and after six games, El Tri have now won three games and the West Africans remain winless after three outings ended in draws.

In the absence of Heartland goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Enyimba forward Anayo Iwuala was handed the armband and he led Gernot Rohr’s side for the entire 90 minutes while Lobi Stars’ Nwabili got the nod to stay in between the sticks ahead of Enyimba’s John Noble.

Unfortunately, the Super Eagles are winless in their last eight friendly matches and their last victory dates back to March 2019 when they edged Egypt 1-0 in Asaba.

Next up for Nigeria is the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers which will start in September. The three-time African champions are in Group B alongside Cape Verde, Central African Republic, and Liberia.

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