FIFA Fines Nigeria $.15m, Bars Fans from Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja


Duro Ikhazuagbe 

World football governing body, FIFA, has imposed a fine of $150,000 on Nigeria following the disturbances that followed Super Eagles’ 1-1 draw with Ghana in a 2022 World Cup playoff at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja. 
The draw led to the non-qualification of Nigeria for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 
In addition to the fine, fans have been barred from the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja as Nigeria will play host to Sierra Leone in the first qualifying match of the 2023 AFCON next month. 
In a letter sent to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on May 1, 2022, FIFA approved the edifice built in 2003 to host the qualifier against Sierra Leone but without fans as punishment for the fracas that took place after Ghana snatched the ticket to Qatar 2022 on the away goal rule.
This approval has now put to an end speculations in the local media that the Abuja Stadium will be barred from hosting international matches in the wake of the crowd disturbances. 
Over 60,000 fans crammed the stadium in Nigeria’s last game of the qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar. 
Naturally, after Super Eagles held the Ghanaians to a goalless draw in the first leg in Kumasi, the home fans were expecting nothing short of victory and the ticket to Nigeria’s seventh World Cup appearance after making debut at USA ’94.
But the Black Stars stunned the hosts, racing to an early minute lead through Arsenal star, Thomas Partey. 
William Troost-Ekong cancelled out the goal but Eagles failed to get a second to earn them the ticket. 
The failure was too hard for the fans to swallow. They resorted to destruction of the edifice that hosted the All African Games in 2003. 
By the time dust settled, the damage done to the facility has been estimated to cost a couple of millions of naira to fix. 
The fans’ action resulted in speculations in the local media that the stadium may not witness any international game in the foreseeable future.

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