The Republic Of Chad has withdrawn from qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, reportedly due to the economic situation in the country, which is a huge blow to Nigeria’s chances of reaching the tournament.
According to Chad Football Association Secretary General, Mahamoud, they will not honour the return leg against Tanzania on March 28. With Chad sitting bottom of Group G after three defeats from as many matches, it is speculated that financial constraints may have prompted the decision.
In accordance with CAF qualifying rules, if a team withdraws from a qualifying group or tournament, all matches played against that team will be counted as null and void as stipulated in Article 61.
This implies that all points gained from matches involving Chad will now be discarded, leaving Nigeria two points adrift of Egypt with only two matches – including a must-not-lose trip to Alexandria on Tuesday – to turn things around.
The teams in Group G have been reduced to three, Egypt, Nigeria and Tanzania, the Pharaohs are first with four points, followed by Nigeria, who have drawn two games and garnered two points, and last-placed Tanzania.
Nigeria, which failed to reach the 2015 tournament having lifted the trophy in 2013, had been in the running to qualify as one of two best runners-up, but CAF confirmed that only the top-placed team will now be eligible to qualify from Group G.
Chad has been fined $20,000 for pulling the plug on its campaign.
Nigeria will play against Egypt tomorrow after playing a 1-1 draw with the Pharaohs at home, but if Nigeria’s Super Eagles lose to Egypt in the return leg tomorrow they won’t partake in the next African Cup of Nations tournament slated for Gabon next year.