Nigeria/ Ghana Match: NFF Apologises Again, Says FIFA Official Died Of Cardiac Arrest
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has again apologised to Nigerians for the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
This formed part of the communique issued at the end of the federation’s executive committee meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja to discuss critical issues in the nation’s football sector.
It thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his presence and apologised that the team faltered in the quest for a ticket to Qatar after losing to the Black Stars of Ghana.
The NFF also reacted to the invasion of the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja by fans who were aggrieved by Eagles’ defeat to the Ghanaian side.
It stressed that the incident had nothing to do with the death of Dr Joseph Kabungo who was appointed as the FIFA Doping Officer for the Nigeria-Ghana playoff match on Tuesday last week.
According to the football governing, Dr Kabungo died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest as attested to by the autopsy report.
It added that the FIFA official’s body has been flown to Zambia for final rites accompanied by his family members who were flown to Nigeria two days after the unfortunate incident.
The NFF also hinted at when it would hold its Annual General Assembly (AGA) which failed to take place on December 17, 2021, as a result of an ex parte injunction that suspend the exercise.
Read the communique of the NFF Executive Committee meeting below:
The Executive Committee of Nigeria Football Federation met on Tuesday, 5th April 2022 at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to deliberate on important issues in Nigeria Football and resolved as follows:
The Executive Committee tendered unreserved apology to the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria for the inability of the Super Eagles to win a ticket to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
It praised the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for his personal presence and apologised that the team faltered in the quest for a ticket to Qatar.
For his steadfastness, exemplary leadership and warm relationship with the NFF since assuming office and especially for the FIFA World Cup playoff matches, the Committee commended, appreciated and applauded the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare.
The Committee further commended the Honourable Minister for his savvy in convening the meeting held among the Presidency, Sports Ministry and NFF on Monday, 4th April 2022 to review the unfortunate outcome of the match with Ghana and agree concrete steps on how to reinvigorate the Super Eagles and indeed Nigeria Football going forward.
It noted that the meeting was very cordial, as well as established and appreciated the fact that all that was needed to be done and/or provided the team and the technical crew to ensure a positive outcome on the pitch against Ghana was delivered, and in a most professional manner.
In addition, unique motivational strategy was put in place to spur the coaches and the players, such as offering the technical crew a two-and-half year contract. The standard agreement NFF had in place with the players that they will share 35 per cent of the qualifying bonus Nigeria will earn by participating at the Qatar 2022 World Cup was also emphasised.
The Executive Committee regretted the death of Dr Joseph Kabungo, appointed as the FIFA Doping Officer for the Nigeria/Ghana FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Playoff match in Abuja on 29th March 2022.
It reiterated that Dr Kabungo died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest, as attested to by the autopsy report, and disclosed that his body had been flown to Zambia for final rites accompanied by his family members who were flown to Nigeria two days after the unfortunate incident.
It prayed that God grants the soul of Dr Kabungo eternal rest and for fortitude for his family and the Zambia Football Family to bear the big loss. The Committee equally commended the General Secretary for diligence and proficiency in handling issues surrounding the tragic development and also with regards to the match organisation.
After exhaustive deliberations, introspection and admission that the outpouring of emotions by fans and stakeholders over the FIFA World Cup miss was legitimate, the Executive Committee urged caution and patience, and assured that in tandem with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, decisive steps will be taken in the next few days to reposition Nigeria Football in several areas, including the National Teams.
It also disclosed that in line with the statutes, roadmap for new elections into the NFF Board will be designed at the Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the NFF once the ex parte injunction suspending the Congress from meeting is vacated.
It can be recalled that the AGA to set the roadmap for the next NFF election cycle was statutorily scheduled to hold on 17th December, 2021 in Lagos but an ex parte court order was served on the NFF from a Federal High Court in Bayelsa State to stop the meeting.
The NFF had since January 2022 approached the court to vacate the order and the next sitting is scheduled for 26th April 2022. The committee has now proposed June 2022 for the AGA to statutorily set the roadmap for the NFF elective congress provided the order is vacated accordingly.
The Executive Committee mandated its Technical and Development Sub-Committee to, within the next five days, make recommendations to the Executive Committee on coaching crews for the Super Eagles, the CHAN team, the U20 Boys (Flying Eagles) and the U17 Boys (Golden Eaglets) ahead of upcoming assignments. This is to ensure preparations for the next qualifying tournaments and championships commence in earnest.
The Committee hailed the Super Falcons for its qualification for the 12th edition of the Women Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Morocco in the month of July, and promised to provide the team ample support for adequate preparation for the Championship, aware that the event also serves as qualifying tournament for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
The Super Falcons’ contingent departed Nigeria on Tuesday night for Canada for a two-match tour with that country’s Women’s National Team, and will camp in Morocco for the African Championship.
The Executive Committee also commended the U20 Women National Team, Falconets, for its qualification for this year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup taking place in Costa Rica in the month of August, and charged the U17 girls, Flamingos to put in the hard work necessary to win a ticket to this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup taking place in India in the month of October.