Nigeria have received a boost ahead of their CHAN 2018 quarterfinal clash with Angola at the Grande Stade de Tanger on Sunday after the team was given ‘a clean bill of health’ on the disciplinary front.
Defenders Orji Kalu Okogbue and Stephen Eze as well as midfielder Dayo Ojo received yellow cards during the group stage of the championship and would normally bear the risk of a card suspension in the latter stage of the competition in every game they play.
However, as clarified by the Super Eagles media officer Toyin Ibitoye on Saturday, all cautions received by the trio have been wiped out ahead of the knock-out stage of the competition.
A further check on the competition’s regulations confirmed that much in Article 42 which treated the Sanction of Players as stated thus:
“The cautions received during the matches qualifying phase shall not be taken into account for the matches of the Final Tournament.
“At the end of the first phase of the Final Tournament (group matches), all cautions received shall be cancelled for the rest of the competition.
“Nevertheless, a player having collected two yellow cards will sustain the one match suspension.”
Both Okogbue and Ojo earned their cautions in the second group game against Libya and played with the risk of getting suspended for the quarter-final game when Nigeria faced Equatorial Guinea in Agadir.
Both players however lasted full duration in last Tuesday’s game without any caution. Team’s head coach Salisu Yusuf is not moved by any fear of suspension.
“It is normal in football. It is normal in tournaments. You can have cards as far as it is not red card. You just have to play with caution but firmness and try to control aggression. Other teams will also be in the same situation,” Salisu told www.aclsports.com
Nigeria face Angola in the two nations’ first ever meeting since 2012 at the Grand Stade de Tanger on Sunday at 4:30pm local time (5:30pm WAT).