Eagles Bemoan FIFA Ban

Bio,-Nigeria’s-Sports-minis

•Bio, Nigeria's Sports minister

The news that Nigeria has been banned by FIFA was received by the Super Eagles players  preparing for this weekend’s 2012 Nations Cup qualifier in Guinea with great shock.

•Bio, Nigeria's Sports minister

The players at the Abuja camp are yet to come to terms with Monday’s ban imposed on  Nigeria by world soccer governing body the FIFA.

FIFA on Monday announced that Nigeria has been suspended from all levels of the game  until the country’s government desists from interfering with the way football is run in  Nigeria.

The ban means Nigeria will forfeit Sunday’s Nations Cup qualifier unless the government  agrees to the terms put to it by FIFA.

FIFA on Monday announced that Nigeria has been suspended from all levels of the game  until the country’s government desists from interfering with the way football is run in  Nigeria.

The ban means Nigeria will forfeit Sunday’s Nations Cup qualifier unless the government  agrees to the terms put to it by FIFA.

“I am actually shocked to hear this and also short of words. I am disturbed because right  now we are working so hard to give a very good account of ourselves in Guinea,” Heartland  defender Ikechukwu ThankGod told MTNFootball.com.

“But now we don’t even know if we will go to Guinea anymore to play the match. It is so  sad and worrisome. This will surely have adverse effect on Nigerian football.

“Does that mean it is only the Nigerian Premier League we will be playing?”

Equally perplexed was Bayelsa United goalkeeper Bassey Akpan, who along with other NPL  stars have been training in Abuja since last week preparatory to the match in Conakry.

“As soon as we heard the news we were all shocked and we don’t even know what will become  of us as a result of this shock pronouncement from FIFA,” Akpan told MTNFootball.com .

“This is a bad 50th Independence anniversary gift from FIFA. This will surely affect us  all as Nigerian players.

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“It will also affect those of us in Europe and other parts of the world. For instance, it  is in the condition of contract given to any foreign player in the English Premier League  to always meet up with the 75 percent appearance with his national team.

“So, that means that Nigerian players there would suffer and may lose their jobs if they  are now deprived of featuring for their country.”

He further lamented: “The question we are asking ourselves now is does that mean we won’t  go to Guinea again? Does that mean we won’t participate in the Africa Nations Cup  qualifiers again?

“It is a sad situation. It is very sad. Does that mean Guinea will pocket the three  points without kicking any ball? Are we out of the Nations Cup race?”

The Bayelsa goalkeeper will therefore call on Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan to  intervene and save Nigerian football.

“President Jonathan should intervene now before it is too late. I know with his  intervention everything would be settled amicably in the interest of football in the  country,” pleaded an emotional Akpan.

“He is our father and I believe he won’t watch us his children to suffer and to be thrown  into the labour market just like that with all the talents that God has blessed us.”

Meanwhile, a  member of the former board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chris  Green, has singled out the Sports Minister Isa Bio for blame following the recent  decision of Fifa to suspend Nigeria from all competitive football.

Green told SuperSport.com that Bio and the director general of the National Sports  Commission must take responsibility for the current low in Nigerian football.

“Both men are responsible for this. They were adamant in arbitrarily installing certain  persons into the board of the federation. In the process they violated article 13 of the  Fifa statutes, as it has to do with external interference in the running of football by  an affiliate member.”

The football chief, who was a former commissioner for sports in Rivers State, further  disclosed that football in Nigeria will suffer immensely in the coming days unless rapid  steps are taken to correct the situation.

“I fear for our youth. All our male and female national teams, clubs and youth sides have  automatically sacrificed their positions at regional, continental and global meets due to  the selfishness of two inviduals. Nigeria as a nation was not compelled to become a  member of Fifa in 1945. When you decide to become an affiliate of an association like  Fifa, you have to realise that its laws, rules, regulations, acts and statutes are  binding on you. Unfortunately, both Patrick Ekeji and Isa Bio did not think of this” he  said.