Al-Shabab Challenge NFF On Reason Ighalo Missed AFCON

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Saudi Arabian club side, Al-Shabab have contradicted the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) on why Super Eagles’ forward, Odion Ighalo was stopped from representing Nigeria at the 2021 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The clubs’ Director of Professionalism, Majid Al-Marzouki, while clarifying matters on the withdrawal of the striker on a local television channel, Al Arabiya, blamed the Nigerian football authorities for their action.

NFF had earlier accused the club of arm twisting the federation by activating a clause in the contract of the 32-year-old striker, which forbids him from playing for his National team.

Al-Shabab however, countered the claim, insisting that they did not release the player because NFF sent his invitation letter to the club later than the period stipulated for sending players’ call-up letters by FIFA.

The club said, “We did not prevent the player from joining, but his invitation letter did not reach us within the period specified by FIFA for receiving the players’ call-up letters.

“The FIFA Player Status Regulations stipulates that the local federation must notify the player and his club in writing of his summon 15 days before the start of the tournament, and it is advised to send a copy to the local federation of the club as well, which did not happen, and accordingly the coach told us that the player continues with us and will not join his team.

“There are no negotiations between us and the Nigerian Federation, and the player is committed to the decision, the situation is settled”.

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