Nigeria to avoid Fifa suspension after case dropped

Dropping the case paves the way for Amaju Pinnick and his executive to resume their duties.

FILE: A court case involving a battle for the leadership of the NFF was withdrawn on Thursday. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Nigeria look like avoiding a Fifa suspension after a court case involving a battle for the leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) was withdrawn from the High Court on Thursday.

Dropping the case paves the way for Fifa-backed NFF president Amaju Pinnick and his executive to resume their duties after they had been ousted from office by an interim ruling last Thursday by Justice Ambrose Allagoa, who placed Chris Giwa in charge.

Judge Allagoa ruled that the elective congress that brought Pinnick to power on 30 September was invalid but that ruling is no longer being supported by Giwa and is being dropped.

There was also some conjecture that Stephen Keshi, who left his job as national team coach earlier this month could return.

Keshi, who led Nigeria to the African Nations Cup title in 2013, has left his job but the country's president Goodluck Jonathan is a big fan of Keshi and Nigeria media say he would be delighted if the charismatic "Big Boss" returned.

Fifa wrote to the NFF on Tuesday and placed a deadline of mid-day on Friday (31 October) for the court to strike the matter off the roll and for Giwa to relinquish control.

Giwa asked for the matter to be withdrawn on Thursday following an intervention from President Jonathan, who met with the warring factions on Tuesday.

He instructed them to find a solution to the crisis that threatened to rule the Super Eagles out of attempting to reach next year's finals in Morocco to defend the title they won under Keshi in 2013.

Nigerian media suggested that Keshi had been recalled to his position at the personal request of President Jonathan.

Although there was no confirmation from the NFF, current coach Shaibu Amidu backed Keshi's return on the Nigeria national team's official Twitter account.

"I believe Keshi should be allowed to complete the qualifying race he started. I think the mission to qualify is not an impossible task," Amidu was quoted as saying.

Nigeria will most likely have to win both of their remaining Nations Cup qualifiers next month away in Congo and at home to South Africa to stand a chance of reaching the finals in Morocco in January.