The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), in a statement released on Monday, stated Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, may earn his 100th cap against Cape Verde on Tuesday but according to FIFA records, that is not correct.
“Captain Ahmed Musa will earn his 100th cap for Nigeria, two days on 11 years after he won his first against Madagascar in Calabar if he takes any part in Tuesday’s encounter,” said the NFF statement.
Premium Times in looking into Musa’s appearances for the national team found two matches, both in 2017, that count in the NFF’s 99-match itinerary for the 28-year-old but have been discounted by the world’s football regulatory body, FIFA.
On June 1, 2017, in Paris, the Eagles played Togo in a friendly, which they won 3-0 but Coach Gernot Rohr made nine substitutions in that encounter, which degraded the match from being a FIFA-certified Grade A friendly to being a training match.
Musa played for 46 minutes during that encounter before Victor Osimhen replaced him.
There can only be a maximum of six substitutions in a FIFA-certified match.
The second forfeiture was during the qualifying series for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Eagles played Algeria on November 10, 2017, and though the match ended 1-1; Nigeria forfeited the match, having fielded an ineligible player-Shehu Abdullahi, courtesy of two yellow cards he picked up in the course of the qualifiers. Musa came on for Alex Iwobi in the 81st minute of that encounter.
Abdullahi’s two yellow cards, which meant an automatic suspension, came against Swaziland and Zambia.
FIFA, in a statement on December 12, 2017, said. “The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player in the match between Algeria and Nigeria on 10 November 2017. The match is declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Algeria, with the NFF also receiving a fine of CHF 6,000.
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“The sanction relates to the player Abdullahi Shehu failing to serve the automatic one-match suspension imposed on him as a result of receiving a caution in two separate matches of the same competition. This sanction bears no impact on the final result of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup since Nigeria had already qualified (and Algeria eliminated) before the match took place.”
A forfeiture means FIFA expunged the match from its official records. The three points and three goals awarded to Algeria meant a walkover, meaning the match never happened.
Officially, as the NFF is a subset of FIFA so there cannot be two records for the same player.
Musa has 97 caps for the Eagles and can only record a 98th appearance for the Super Eagles during Tuesday’s encounter against Cape Verde.