Nigeria escape 2018 World Cup dismissal


THEWILL recalls that the world football governing body sanctioned Nigeria for fielding an ineligible player, Shehu Abdullahi, for the clash against Algeria.

The concluding match of Group B of the African series for Russian Federation 2018 ended in a 1-1 draw, but FIFA on Tuesday awarded all three points to Algeria following Nigeria's use of ineligible defender Abdullahi Shehu in the encounter.

But the tie have been forfeited and a 3-0 victory have been awarded in favour of the north Africans, with the NFF slammed with a fine of CHF 6,000.

"This sanction bears no impact on the final result of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup since Nigeria had already qualified (and Algeria eliminated) before the match took place", FIFA said in a statement.

He said, although no final decision has been reached, the three friendly matches would be played in Abuja before the World Cup to be hosted by Russian Federation in June.

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The Super Eagles drew 1-1 in Algeria, but by this ruling they will finish on 13 points from six matches with their undefeated record tarnished.

The Secretary General of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Muhammed Sanusi, revealed this while speaking on the sidelines of NFF's 2018 budget defence with the House of Representatives Committee on Sports. Traditionally, yellow cards issued in previous rounds of the qualifying race are cancelled going forward, but the principle did not apply for the latest series.

However, the CAF executive member apologised over the bad publicity and said "we accept the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to fine the NFF and award the match to Algeria".

Pinnick said: "I want to assure that persons responsible for this slip would not be given just a slap on the wrist".

Ladipo said: "It's disheartening that this could happen in a big country like Nigeria; it is a shame and an embarrassment that the NFF could not tidy up their end".