AFCON Qualifiers: Nigeria accuse CAF of changing rules midway

Amaju Pinnick , NFF chairman
Amaju Pinnick , NFF chairman

The eviction of the Nigerian team from the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification has thrown the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on warpath.

According to a press statement posted on its website late on Wednesday, the NFF is contesting the sudden change of rules after the withdrawal of Chad and has already put its lawyers to work on how it can seek legal redress against CAF.

“…our legal unit is looking at the propriety of changing the rules midstream,” the statement read.

Analysts believe that as understandable as NFF’s grouse is and as justifiable as its actions may be, should it go ahead with this move, the Federation could fall on the bad side of the Issa Hayatou-led CAF, which would portend even bigger trouble for Nigerian football in the near future.

Meanwhile, in a related note, the NFF has blamed the Super Eagles’ ouster on Chad after the West African team withdrew suddenly from the qualifiers just before the Eagles fell 1-0 to Pharaohs of Egypt in Alexandria on Tuesday night to crash out of the championship.

The Federation refuses to blame erstwhile coach, Sunday Oliseh, who dumped the team suddenly just about three weeks before the double-headed matches.

According to the NFF’s submission, it had hoped to at least qualify in second place behind Egypt until Chad set that dream on fire when its withdrawal was confirmed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Sunday, just about 48 hours before the Eagles were to face Egypt.

“It is rather unfortunate that Chad, one of the teams in the qualification group, suddenly pulled out of the race, leaving only three teams left in the group, and only the winner of the group guaranteed qualification. This appeared to have taken away our worst–case scenario of qualification”, the statement reads.

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