Nigeria loses unbeaten 2018 World Cup qualifying records Super Eagles docked points

Published on: 13 December 2017
Nigeria loses unbeaten 2018 World Cup qualifying records Super Eagles docked points
Nigeria Super Eagles

Nigeria's unbeaten World Cup qualifying record vanished on Tuesday after world governing body FIFA stripped the Super Eagles of their win against Algeria.

The Swiss-based body awarded Algeria a 3-0 win for their final qualifier, ruling that the Super Eagles fielded an ineligible player during the match.

This means Nigeria have lost their 100% record in the qualifiers which saw them seal their place at the tournament to be held in Russia next year.

Despite the deduction in points, tt doesn't affect the African qualifiers for next year's finals, as Nigeria had already booked their place for Russia before the Algeria match.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was also fined 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,052).

Nigeria's qualification and performance sparked hopes that they will be the African side to excel at the tournament with bet9ja bookmaker offering mouthwatering odds for the showing of the Super Eagles at the World Cup.

However, their perfect record suffered a jolt when Nigeria played Shehu Abdullahi in their match against Algeria that ended 1-1 last month.

Abdullahi should have been serving a one-match ban having already been booked twice in previous games but was used in the match but he should have been serving a one-match ban.

The midfielder received a yellow card in a second-round tie against Swaziland in 2015 and was then cautioned in a 1-0 group-stage victory over Zambia last October.

NFF president Amaju Pinnick issued a grovelling apology over the turn of events assuring that they will launch an investigation to punish the person whose negligence led to that.

"This is a grave error and somebody must be punished," NFF president Amaju Pinnick said in a statement.

"We apologise to Nigerians for this and assure that this will not in any way derail or even distract us in our well–laid plan to ensure that the Super Eagles have a great outing in Russia.

"At the same time, I want to assure that persons responsible for this slip would not be given just a slap on the wrist."

FIFA said the three-time African champions violated article 8 of the Regulations of the 2018 World Cup Russia and article 55 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code for playing the Anorthosis Famagusta defender in the match against Algeria.

According to FIFA, Shehu failed to serve the automatic one-match suspension imposed on him as a result of receiving a caution in two separate matches of the same competition.

FIFA added that Nigeria will lose the point they got from the match with three points and three goals awarded to their opponents of in the game Algeria.

With the deducted point, the Super Eagles finished the Russia 2018 qualifying campaign with 13 points instead of 14 and can no longer be considered unbeaten.