Nigerian soccer execs fired
The Nigerian Football Federation fired its two leaders Sunday, trying to appease the West African country's president.
In a statement, the federation's executive committee said it fired president Sani Lulu and vice-president Amanze Ugbulam, as well as a member of the federation's technical committee. The statement said the committee wanted to apologize to all Nigerians over the team's lacklustre performance at the World Cup
That showing prompted Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend the national team from international competition for two years.
We "passionately appeal to the president ... to reconsider the earlier action of government to withdraw all the national football teams from CAF/FIFA competitions for two years," the statement read. The federation also promised "to take urgent steps to address the 'maladministration' of football in the country."
A spokesman for Jonathan announced Wednesday the team would be suspended two years after Nigeria left the World Cup with just one point, earned in a 2-2 draw with South Korea in its last game. Nigeria lost to Argentina 1-0 in its Group B opener and fell to Greece 2-1 in a game turned by the first-half ejection of midfielder Sani Kaita.
The suspension also follows corruption allegations that plagued the team before the World Cup. Presidential spokesman Ima Niboro said Wednesday that all funds directed toward the Nigeria Football Federation would be examined and "all those found wanting will be sanctioned."
FIFA has said it will suspend Nigeria unless the country's government overturns its ban on the national team by Monday.
The Nigerians haven't won a World Cup match since 1998. They had two losses and a draw in 2002 and didn't qualify for the 2006 tournament.
The team, nicknamed Super Eagles by loyal supporters and Super Chickens by dissenters, faced almost countrywide criticism after finishing third in the African Cup of Nations earlier in the year.
Nigeria fired coach Shaibu Amodu in February and hired Swedish coach Lars Lagerback only about four months before the World Cup.