Yesterday, the world football governing body, FIFA announced that it has deducted 2 points from Nigeria for fielding an already suspended player during a world cup qualifier against Algeria. The announcement has triggered a lot of reactions from Nigerians as ‘Algeria’ trends on Twitter.
The match against Algeria ended 1-1 but FIFA has decided to cancel’s Nigeria’s 1 point from the match and instead awarded Algeria 3-0.
The Super Eagles fielded the ineligible Abdullahi Shehu who had failed to serve a one-match ban for accumulated yellow cards.
“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 were eliminated) before the match took place,” soccer’s world governing body said in a statement.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said on Twitter that it accepted the decision. “The NFF president (Amaju Pinnick) has directed that an internal inquiry be instituted immediately and persons found culpable be dealt with,” it added.
In the defence of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick said:
“Another grave mistake then occurred. FIFA sent an email to the technical officer in charge, that Shehu Abdullahi was suspended for the Algeria match. In a twist of fate, that officer was in hospital, with a severe heart condition, battling for his life.”
Nigeria still qualifies despite the penalty.
Below are some of the comments by Nigerians on Twitter:
I just read FIFA awarded Algeria 3 points and 3 goals. How could Nigeria have fielded an ineligible player? What sort of unforgivable error is that? I read that piece hoping today was April 1st.
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) December 12, 2017
Huge story: @thenff almost cost Nigeria the World Cup place by fielding an ineligible player against Algeria. FIFA has now awarded three points to Algeria.
So if we hadn't qualified before that game, our World Cup slot could have just been lost. https://t.co/80C7Z1gMh7
— Yomi Kazeem (@TheYomiKazeem) December 12, 2017