2018 World Cup: FIFA sanctions Nigeria, awards 3-0 victory to Algeria

World football governing body, FIFA has sanctioned the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for fielding an ineligible player in the match between Algeria and Nigeria on November 10.

What happened:

The NFF had fielded Abdullahi Shehu, who was booked to serve an automatic one-match suspension imposed on him. This was as a result of receiving a caution in two separate matches of the same competition.

FIFA’s decision:

The football governing body declared the match forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Algeria. It also fined the NFF CHF 6,000.

The effect:

The 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.

What this means:

The decision of the NFF to allow a suspended player on the pitch during the match is the height of unprofessionalism.

The NFF technical committee is saddled which such responsibility of documenting sanctioned players. However, it failed woefully, almost costing Nigeria a World Cup spot.

The Super Eagles coaching staff should also share part of the blame. Thankfully, the sanctions did not affect Nigeria’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

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