The Nigeria Football Federation has offered an unreserved apology to the Federal Government and Nigerians for the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals holding in Qatar.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi expressed regrets that the team failed to qualify despite the enormous support of the government and the fans who came out to support the team at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja for the clash with Ghana’s Black Stars on Tuesday.
“There was nothing the team needed that was lacking. The Government provided necessary support; the NFF put all logistics in place with the active support of the Sports Ministry and Nigerians turned out en masse to support the team. The truth is that we left nothing to chance. It is sad that things turned out the way they did.
“Sport is about winning and losing. Nobody wants to lose but sometimes it happens that way. We were quite sad that despite playing a draw in Kumasi, the Super Eagles could not win here in Abuja. We apologise unreservedly to the government and people of Nigeria for this non-qualification.”
The Super Eagles could only achieve a score draw (1-1) against the Black Stars, which ended their hopes of playing at the FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar as Ghana sneaked through on the away-goal rule.
Meanwhile, the NFF has expressed shock and sorrow over the death of FIFA/CAF Medical Officer, Dr Joseph Kabungo, who died after the game.
Dr Kabungo was the Doping Control Officer for the match.
Despite various media reports stating that the Zambian medical died following the fans’ violence after the match, Sanusi explained the situation surrounding the death of Dr Kabungo.
“We are terribly shocked at this sad development. The NFF commiserates with world football –body FIFA, the Confederation of African Football, the Football Association of Zambia, and the family of Dr Kabungo on his sudden passing. His death pains us very much and we are in a state of deep shock.
“However, it is important to state the facts as they are. According to the information from our own medical officer, Dr Onimisi Ozi Salami who was appointed by FIFA as Medical Officer for the game, Dr Kabungo was found gasping for breath near the dressing room of the Ghanaian team. I was notified and ordered that he should be rushed to the hospital. He didn’t make it. He died just as they got to the hospital,” NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said.
Dr Ozi Salami further explained that the incident happened when he (Dr Salami) was looking to get the Nigerian player for the doping exercise, while Dr Kabungo was looking to get a Ghanaian player for the same exercise.
“I was heading to the dressing room of the Nigerian team when the General Coordinator, Kabore Hubert Bosilong from South Africa called my attention. Dr Kabungo suddenly started gasping for breath. The FIFA Security Officer for the match, Mr Dixon Adol Okello from Uganda also witnessed the incident,” the statement added.
“We tried to resuscitate him there and then, but when this did not appear to be working, we put him in an ambulance and rushed him to Cedar Crest Hospital in Apo, where he gave up the ghost. It is a very sad incident and one is shocked that some persons have been putting a terrible slant to the whole thing by saying he was beaten up by fans. That is a lie. He died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.”