Nigeria failed to pick the ticket to the global fiesta after losing out on away-goal rule to Ghana in the crucial decider
Former Secretary-General of the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) Dr Tijani Yusuf has lamented the significant loss that the country will record following the Super Eagles’ inability to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The Super Eagles seemingly had home advantage in their favour after drawing 0-0 against the Black Stars in Kumasi in the first leg of the World Cup playoffs on March 25.
But the Augustine Eguavoen-led side limped to a lame 1-1 draw in Abuja on Tuesday to hand Ghana the ticket to the Mundial. The last time Nigeria did not participate in the World Cup was in 2006, with the three-time Afcon champions featuring at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 editions.
Dr Yusuf is disappointed that the Super Eagles missed the chance to bring in considerable benefits to various stakeholders with that qualifying ticket.
The senior lecturer at the Bayero University Kano insists that everyone, from the Nigeria Football Federation to the players, down to the fans, has something to lose from the Eagles’ elimination.
When asked, during an interview with the Daily Trust, how much Nigeria stand to lose by not qualifying for the World Cup, Dr Yusuf responded, “The loss is enormous.
“To start with, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) itself has lost billions of naira that would have come to it from FIFA. Secondly, Nigeria’s ranking by FIFA would have gone up.
“Thirdly, the players themselves are the biggest losers because apart from missing the World Cup showpiece, their individual ranking won’t improve. Then we talk about Nigerians who were warming up to hit Qatar for the World Cup. It is a huge loss.”
Following the disappointment of the Super Eagles’ World Cup elimination, the NFF moved quickly to dismiss caretaker coach Eguavoen and his assistants, Emmanuel Amuneke, Joseph Yobo, and Alloy Agu.
But despite calls from different quarters, the top officials of the NFF, including President Amaju Pinnick, have refused to resign.
Dr Yusuf is bewildered that Pinnick has not done the most honourable thing expected of a man who failed to deliver on his mandate.
“Like Distinguished Senator Orji Uzor Kalu said, they should all resign,” the University don added.
“This is the time for the government to step in. In a normal situation, the first person who should have tendered his resignation honourably is the NFF president. If it were in other climes, Pinnick should have resigned immediately.
“But in Nigeria, people don’t resign; they are pushed out by force. I expect him to resign together with his board members; he has done his best, but it is not good enough so let him resign immediately.”
Africa will be represented at Qatar 2022 by Afcon winners Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon, and Ghana.