Nigeria fumes over Fifa ban

Officials, players and fans reacted with disbelief and anger following the country’s suspension by Fifa as a result of government interference in the running of the game in Nigeria. On Monday, Fifa announced that the country has been banned from all levels of football until the elected board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is allowed to function without government interference.
The ban has not gone down well with Kanu, one of Nigeria's greatest players. (Net photo)
The ban has not gone down well with Kanu, one of Nigeria's greatest players. (Net photo)

Officials, players and fans reacted with disbelief and anger following the country’s suspension by Fifa as a result of government interference in the running of the game in Nigeria.

On Monday, Fifa announced that the country has been banned from all levels of football until the elected board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is allowed to function without government interference.

Acting secretary-general of the NFF, Emmanuel Ikpeme, confirmed the ban but refused to comment further.
“I was summoned by the National Sports Commission, where I received the letter banning Nigeria,” Ikpeme said.
“But I do not wish to make any comments on this Fifa ban.”

The most immediate casualty of the Fifa ban is this weekend’s 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Guinea.

Nigeria’s foreign-based professionals were expected to join up with their counterparts from the local league on Monday in a training camp in Abuja.

Fifa-licensed agent Bertrand Ekenwa said Fifa will not go back on their pronouncement and as such Nigeria have to abide by the ruling of the world football governing body.
“Fifa approved the elections and they have always kicked against government interference. So, why should Nigeria be a different case,” a furious Ekenwa said.

In July, the Nigerian government rescinded a decision to withdraw from international competitions for two years only after Fifa threatened to ban the country altogether.

In 1996, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned the country for two editions of the Nations Cup after Nigerian dictator, General sani Abacha, withdrew the team from the tournament in South Africa.

The country has also served out a two-year Fifa ban for age-group competitions following the discovery of discrepancies in the ages of some of the players who represented Nigeria in such tournaments.

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