Nigeria: Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for 2022 Qatar football World Cup led to violence

By 'Tofe Ayeni

Posted on Wednesday, 30 March 2022 20:37
A full capacity Moshood Abiola Stadium is seen during the World Cup qualifier match between Nigeria and Ghana in Abuja, Nigeria. 29 March 2022. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, with fans becoming violent at a match on 29 March in Abuja.

Yesterday, 29 March, Nigeria and Ghana drew 1-1 in a World Cup qualifier. Ghana won the tie based on its higher number of away goals scored, so Nigeria will not be participating in the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar.

Nigerian fans stormed the pitch after the match, tearing down dugouts and clashing with police. Law enforcement responded with tear gas.

Zambian doctor Joseph Kabungo, the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) anti-doping officer for the match, died in the violence.

A statement by the Zambia Football Association president Andrew Kamanga said: “Today we mourn the passing of our CAF/FIFA medical officer Dr Joseph Kabungo, who was on duty as a doping officer in Tuesday’s match involving Nigeria and Ghana. […] It is too early to dwell into the nitty-gritty of the cause of his death, but we will wait for the full report from CAF and FIFA on what exactly transpired.”

The match took place at the MKO Abiola national stadium in Abuja, and Nigerian supporters far outnumbered their Ghanaian counterparts. The authorities gave 20,000 tickets to locals for free to ensure plenty of home support. Reports said some Ghanaian supporters were attacked in the stands after the match.

Black Stars vs Super Eagles

Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars, missed the last World Cup in Russia but has bounced back.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles, on the other hand, failed to qualify for the World Cup for first time since 2006.

In the match on 29 March, the scorers were Thomas Partey for Ghana in the 10th minute, and William Troost-Ekong for Nigeria in the 22nd minute.

Nigeria missed taking the lead in the 34th minute following a goal from Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, but it was flagged as offside and the decision was confirmed by the video assistant referee.

Due to the national team’s poor performance, many Nigerians have taken to social media to call for the sacking or resignation of head coach Augustine Eguavoen.

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