FIFA punishes Africans for World Cup offences

Gabon, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Morocco and Zambia were fined, while Senegal and Burkina Faso were warned by the football governing body.

Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo gestures after scoring a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Cameroon on September 1. Nigeria was fined by FIFA due to pitch invasion.   -  AFP

FIFA has punished numerous African nations for offences during 2018 World Cup qualifiers last month, the world football body said on Tuesday.

Gabon forfeited a match against Ivory Coast by a mandatory 3-0 scoreline in Libreville for fielding suspended midfielder Merlin Tandjigora. However, the Gabonese lost the match 3-0 so the punishment effectively amounted to a USD 6,200 (EUR 5,300) fine.

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Fielding ineligible players was a major problem in Africa during 2014 World Cup qualifying, but Portugal-based Tandjigora is the first culprit since.

Crowd trouble

Nigeria was fined USD 30,000 after spectators invaded the pitch in Uyo during a 4-0 triumph over Cameroon. The Democratic Republic of Congo must pay FIFA USD 20,000 after the crowd hurled bottles and let off incendiary devices during a 2-2 draw with Tunisia in Kinshasa.

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Mali was fined USD 15,000 because fans flung bottles and chairs on the pitch in a 0-0 stalemate with Morocco in Bamako. The earlier qualifier between the same countries in Rabat led to a USD 3,000 fine for Morocco over whistling while the Malian national anthem was being played.

Late kick-off

Zambia received a USD 7,000 fine after the crowd hurled various unspecified objects on the pitch during a 3-1 victory over Algeria in Lusaka. Senegal and Burkina Faso were warned for late kick-offs in the qualifiers between them in Dakar and Ouagadougou.

The fines are a serious blow as most African national football associations struggle financially with many relying on government bailouts for survival.

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