ZURICH – The world football governing body, Fifa, has now given Nigeria a fresh deadline of September 8 for the Chris Giwa-led football federation to vacate office or face immediate suspension.
In its letter to the NFF general secretary, Musa Amadu, Fifa stated that its emergency committee has decided to “automatically” suspend Nigeria with “immediate effect until the said persons vacate the premises of the NFF and the General Secretary is able to come back and carry out his work without interference.”
Fifa also stated that “the NFF executive committee as it was composed on 25 August 2014, meaning under the presidency of Mr Aminu Maigari, should then convene a first extraordinary general assembly as soon as possible to elect the members of the electoral committees and a second extraordinary general assembly in order to proceed with the elections of the new NFF office-bearers.”
The world football governing body made clear through the letter signed by its secretary general, Jerome Valcke, that once the NFF is suspended the country will not take part at “any international sporting contact (art. 14, par. 3 of the Fifa Statutes). During the period of suspension, the NFF may therefore not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions or in friendly matches.”
However, this development will come as a relief as the African champions can now begin their defence of their Africa Cup of Nations title against Congo in Calabar on Saturday.
But Fifa’s stance now leaves the match against South Africa on September 10 in doubt.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reported the Congolese Football Federation to Caf following the latter’s refusal to afford Nigeria details of its travel plans for tomorrow’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Super Eagles in Calabar.
NFF Head of Internationals, Bola Oyeyode brought Caf up to speed with the strange silence of the Congolese after which the Congolese federation forwarded a terse message about its “advance party” arriving in Nigeria on Wednesday and in need of visa-on-arrival.
“We are surprised at the attitude of the Congolese FA. They have kept silence all along refusing to give us details of their travel plans only for them to be requesting visa-on-arrival for their advance party which they stated would arrive in Nigeria on Wednesday.
“They gave no details of which persons constitute the advance party and no passport details. In any event, we have written to Caf to say we cannot arrange visa-on-arrival for them as we have no details and moreover there is an Embassy of Nigeria in Brazzaville. They should secure their visas before coming to Nigeria,” Oyeyode said.
The camp of the African champions has been buoyant with 22 players in camp before dinner on Wednesday and all arrangements are in proper shape for Saturday’s showdown.
NFF Director of Technical, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme has been in Calabar since Monday to ensure flawless organisation for both teams, match officials as well as other logistics.
“Everything is in great shape here the only thing missing is information on the travel plans of the Congolese delegation. But everything has been arranged for them and things are moving according to plan,” Ikpeme said.
The Red Devils, who won the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon 42 years ago, were restored to the campaign following Caf’s disqualification of Rwanda for using an ineligible player. Congo had lost on penalty shootout to Rwanda’s Amavubi before they were reinstated by Caf.
Saturday’s showdown at the UJ Esuene Stadium is the first of six matches for each of the teams in seven groups of four teams in the qualifying series for the finals scheduled for Morocco early next year.
Clashes between Nigeria and Congo at international level are few but the Red Devils famously held the Eagles to a 0-0 draw in Lagos in a group phase match at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations and last year the Golden Eaglets mauled the Congo Under-17 side 7-0 at the African Under-17 Championship in Morocco.
The Super Eagles’ delegation is expected to fly into Cape Town on Tuesday morning for the clash with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on Wednesday next week. -Reuters