By Albert Akota
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) yesterday moved the 2015 African U-17 Championship qualifying match between Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, set for Lubumbashi, from Sunday, July 20 to Sunday, July 27.
CAF’s decision comes as a welcome relief to the Nigeria Football Federation, whose officials patiently await positive communication from FIFA on the suspension clamped on the country on July 9, due to a court order barring the Aminu Maigari –led Executive Committee from functioning.
On Wednesday evening, in Jos, the case was withdrawn by the plaintiff, and on Thursday, the NFF communicated same to FIFA, praying the suspension be lifted since the principal reason for the clampdown had been met.
In its letter to the NFF, the Federation Congolaise de Football Association (FECOFA), FECAFOOT and the match officials, CAF declared that it was granting the grace of seven days with high hopes that the suspension on Nigeria would be lifted in a couple of days.
“Following the suspension of Nigeria Football Federation by FIFA few days ago, please be informed that CAF is hopeful that an end to this crisis will be found soon.
“However, in view of the upcoming match scheduled between DR Congo and Nigeria U-17 national teams on July 20th, 2014 in Lubumbashi, we wish to ensure that the African youth players maintain their chance of playing competitive football for their respective countries.
“As such, please be informed that CAF decided to postpone the above mentioned match from July 20th to July 27th, 2014.”
The match is the first leg of a 2015 African U-17 Championship qualifying fixture, and is Nigeria’s first step towards defending the world title she won in the United Arab Emirates last year.
Venue of the match remains TP Mazembe Stadium, Lubumbashi, and kick-off is 3.30pm Congo time (2.30pm Nigeria time) on the new date.