Nigeria’s rising football profile suffered a momentary slip on Tuesday when FIFA hammer fell on Nigeria due to administrative lapses in the final dead rubber group match against Algeria. In this report, Femi Solaja looks back into previous lapses that had set the nation back
IICC Shooting Stars versus TP Mazembe of Congo DR
(African Champions Cup competition second leg match in Ibadan in 1980)
The Nigerian representatives had lost 1-2 in Lubumbashi a fortnight earlier and only needed a goal to reach the semi final of the competition in Ibadan. The match was delayed for three hours following the inability of the home team to produce the CAF license of the players because the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) forgot the documents in Lagos. Each member of the Nigeria team had to be photographed with the centre referee. Shooting Stars lost the match on penalties after winning 2-1 score line to drag the game into shoot out.
IICC Shooting Stars versus Zamalek of Egypt
(Final match of African Champions Cup in 1984)
It was in similar vein that the Ibadan outfit was rendered impotent after learning on final match day that the highly dependable left winger, Felix Owolabi, was ineligible to play in the crucial return leg match of the 1984 Africa Champions Cup match against Zamalek.
The 1989 Two-year Ban of Nigeria from Age-grade Competitions
(Mix up in ages of Samson Siasia, Andrew Uwe and Dahiru Sadi)
FIFA did not find the mix up in the ages filled in the passports used by Samson Siasia, Andrew Uwe and Dahiru Sadi funny at the men’s football tournament of 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. They were different from the earlier ages in their data for the FIFA’s Under-20 tournaments in Russia. Nigeria was handed an outright ban. The ban affected the country’s hosting of the under-aged competition scheduled for 1991.
Forgotten Jerseys for the Nigeria versus B’Faso Game at Sports-city
In 1991, Nigeria needed to defeat Burkina Faso to qualify for the AFCON edition to be hosted by Senegal the following year. The late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, as the then Chief of General Staff was the special guest of honour at the mainbowl of the National Stadium in Lagos. After two hours of delay, Super Eagles appeared in make-shift pants because the then NFA official in charge of kits left the jerseys at the team’s camp at Obasanjo Farm Otta. The players’ track down had to be cut with scissors for the match to go ahead. Although Nigeria won the tie 7-1 to reach the finals of the tournament, the then Sports Minister, Major General Yohanna Kure, came down hard on football federation with the dissolution of the board led by former Unipetrol Managing Director, Alhaji Yusuf Ali while Secretary General, Momodu Kadiri was relieved of his job.
Age Mix up Leading to the Disqualification of Seven Golden Eaglets at African Under-17 Championship (Mali 1995)
Nigeria failed to go beyond the group stage of the competition following the disqualification of seven key members of the squad on the ground of being over-aged.
NFA officials saddled with compiling the final list sent to CAF muddled up the job with
lots of typographical errors. Players who passport ages did not tally with what was in the list were disqualified from the competition.
After an inquiry into the immediate and remote cause of the disastrous outing, the then Head of International Department, Bolaji Ojo-Oba was redeployed from the football house back to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Golden Eaglets Passports Forgotten in Lagos for African Qualifier against Benin Rep at Ibadan
Nigeria secured a useful goalless outing in Cotonou and looked forward to consolidating on the return leg match in Ibadan two weeks later but due to another administrative ineptitude, NFA officials forgot the International passports of the players in Lagos.
The error was discovered barely an hour to the match. Then Oyo State Military Administrator, Chinyere Ike Nwosu ordered his pilot car to race to Lagos to fetch the documents from NFA’s Ogunlana Drive Secretariat in Surulere. But the Beninoise who knew the implication of such slip, refused to play when the documents arrived long after the kick off time of the match. CAF disqualified both Nigeria and Benin Republic.
Enyimba’s Narrow Escape through Boardroom Intervention in 2003
The Nigerian representatives defeated Ismail FC of Egypt on aggregate 2-1 in the final of the 2003 African Champions Cup competition but few weeks after the presentation of trophy to the Aba team, news filtered in that the Egyptian club had filed protest against the Nigerian club for fielding second half substitute, Yaro Yaro who was not properly transferred from Kano Pillars same season. But CAF ignored the protest in a bit to avoid bad marketing for its premier African club competition.
Nigeria Failed to Qualify to Play at the 2006 World Cup in Germany Due to Poor Interpretation of Head-to-head Rule
Inability of the then NFA officials to interpret the head-to-head rules concerning the qualifying tournament for the 2006 World Cup in Germany cost Super Eagles the trip to the Mundial and Ibrahim Galadima’s second term bid as NFA chairman.
Not until the last minutes, the ‘egg-heads’ in the football house held on to the belief that Nigeria was ahead of Angola on goal difference should both teams clash in Kano end barren. Angola progressed to Germany having won the first leg in Luanda 1-0.
Same head-to-head rule knocked out Enugu Rangers same year from the newly created CAF Confederation Cup competition.