Nigeria are allowed to go ahead with their Afcon qualifier against Congo Today but there is the possibility, albeit unlikely, that the Group A game with South Africa could yet be called off.
The new leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation, voted in after a sham election last week, have been given until Monday morning at 8am to vacate the federation’s offices and restore to power Aminu Maigari, who has been the subject of two clumsy coup d’etats as the government seek to unseat him.
Otherwise they will be suspended by Fifa and unable to play South Africa.
World football’s governing body will suspend Nigeria from Monday morning if their new president Chris Giwa, who Fifa refuse to recognise, does not step down and all his colleagues depart with him.
Nigeria are conscious of the fact they cannot be seen to be interfering in the affairs of the federation for fear of Fifa sanction but have been so unsubtle in their ruses to rid Maigari that Fifa have tripped them up anyway.
Nigeria are desperate to get rid of Maigari but probably not desperate enough to jeopardise their national team’s ability to defend their Nations Cup title.
That means they are unlikely to jeopardise the game in Cape Town next Wednesday because if they forfeit that they are likely to be kicked out of the Nations Cup qualifiers
Stephen Keshi is back in charge of Nigeria but has yet to commit to a long-term contract with the side, agreeing to lead the side against Congo and Bafana Bafana only … so far.
Keshi, who lives in the USA, is reportedly demanding a R65 000 per month raise on his previous contract, as well as an official residence and car, and to have his Togolese assistant Valere Houandinou put on the NFF payroll as the head coach had paid Houandinou’s salary from his own pocket.
Nigeria play Today’s game against Congo without key goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who asked for time off to deal with some family trouble, but are still top heavy with players from the World Cup in Brazil.
They have kept 15 of the 23 that went to tournament in June, dropping the likes of veterans Peter Odemwingie, Joseph Yobo and Shola Ameobi as they look forward but surprisingly also leaving out Victor Moses, who has just moved to Stoke City.
Fullback Elderson Echiejile, who missed the World Cup because of injury, returns in a boost for the Super Eagles.
After the match in Calabar Today (SAT), Nigeria will give their players a day off and then only travel to Cape Town on Monday, arriving on Tuesday with time for just one training session in what could prove an advantage for Bafana Bafana.
Congo go into Today’s qualifier without their captain Delvin Ndinga, who is injured.