The Super Eagles’ road to the next African Nations Cup may have become tighter.
This is because, the Chad Football Association (FTFA) has withdrawn its team from the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers due to financial constraints.
Sitting at the bottom of group G were set to play Tanzania in a reverse fixture in Dar es Salaam on Monday after a 1-0 defeat at home on Wednesday.
According to BBC, the FTFA president, Moctar Mahamoud, wrote to their opponents saying their decision to pull out was taken by the football authority due to ‘global economic conditions’.
“As part of our participation in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers for Gabon 2017 and specifically the return match against Tanzania, we bring to your attention that our national team has failed to make it to the return leg game in Dar el Salaam scheduled for March 28, ” Mahamoud wrote in his letter.
“Indeed, our country has been badly affected by the global economic conditions. Because of this our participation in various competitions has taken a severe dent due to financial constraints.
“We wish you all the best and we apologise for this situation which is basically unavoidable and out of our control.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed Chad’s withdrawal and it has handed out a fine and suspension from the 2019 Nations Cup qualifying round.
“The Chad Football Federation withdraws from the Nations Cup qualifiers where they participated in group G alongside Nigeria, Egypt and Tanzania,” CAF announced on Twitter.
“If a team withdraws from the qualifying phase organised in groups, all its results shall be annulled (points, scored and conceded goals).
“Hence, the matches of Chad of the first three days of Group G matches are cancelled and their results will not be taken into consideration.
“Accordingly, following the decision of CAF Executive Committee dated January 15th 2015: “Any group reduced to three teams following a team withdrawal will only qualify the first team of that group.”
“The Chadian Football Association is suspended for the upcoming edition of the Nations Cup and must pay the monetary fine of US $20,000.”
This latest twist has thrown Group G into a three-team race for the sole ticket to Gabon.
Egypt, who had beaten Chad 5-1 away from home, are now on four points instead of seven.
Second-placed Nigeria have lost three points as well, after their 2-0 victory over Chad was declared as void.
It leaves the Super Eagles on two points. Tanzania have a solitary point.
The seven-time champions Egypt and Nigeria face off in a highly crucial reverse fixture in Alexandria on March 29.