Nigeria handed AFCON lifeline as Chad rescind decision to quit

Super Eagles

Super Eagles buried hopes of making it to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations was exhumed on Friday after Group G rivals, Chad, decided to rescind their decision to quit the qualifiers.

The Central African nation, who were bottom of the group, had earlier opted out of the qualifying phase due to financial constraints – leaving only Egypt, Nigeria and Tanzania in the group.

This decision attracted a fine of $20,000 – with all points accumulated against the Les Sao cancelled – meaning the Pharaohs with 7 points, all but through to Gabon and the Eagles out of the race.

But in a shocking twist of events on Friday, the three-time African champions could still qualify as one of the best losers after Chad chose to return instead of pay the fine.

“We will return to qualifying and we regret any logistics problems that this might have caused CAF, our fellow group opponents and our fans,” a statement from the general secretary of the Chadian Football Federation, Amadou Keita Chaibou, read.

“It is our hope that this return will help us avoid more sanctions seeing that our poor country cannot afford to pay $20,000 when we claim not to have money for flights and accommodation.

“We also hope that it would not affect our plans to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 so we have returned like prodigal sons wishing that CAF will accept our plea.”

However, the decision on whether to accept Chad back to the competition would be made by the CAF Competitions Board in the next few hours.