World’s Football governing body, FIFA have docked Nigeria three goals and three points for fielding a suspended player, Abdullahi Shehu in their final 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria last month.
With the Super Eagles already qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia after a hard-earned victory over Zambia in October, Nigeria went on to field right back Shehu who ought to have served a mandatory one-game suspension in the game against Algeria in Constantine after accumulating two yellow cards in the series.
The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) have also been fined CHF 6,000 for their act of negligence on the disciplinary matter.
“The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player in the match between Algeria and Nigeria on 10 November 2017.,” began a FIFA statement on Tuesday.
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“The match is declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Algeria, with the NFF also receiving a fine of CHF 6,000. The sanction relates to the player Abdullahi Shehu failing 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.,” the statement added.
And for the avoidance of doubts as to how this affects Nigeria’s World Cup place in Russia where they have been grouped against Croatia, Iceland and Argentina, FIFA stated in unequivocal terms that Gernot Rohr’s men will keep their place in Russia regardless.
“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.”