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Nullification of Algeria’s match in Musa’s records translates to extension of Nigeria’s unbeaten streak in World Cup qualifiers

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Yacine BRAHIMI of Algeria challenged by Alexander IWOBI of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

According to a media release by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), FIFA has expunged two matches from Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa’s international matches.That has reduced his caps to 98.

For Nigeria, It’s a bitter sweet situation. One of the matches expunged as a ‘no-event’ is the World Cup qualifiers with Algeria played four years ago in Constantine. On field, score lines were 1-1.

But following Nigeria’s fielding of an ineligible player, FIFA upturned the result and awarded the match 3-0 and three points to Algeria.

Up till that match, Nigeria had had a record unbeaten streak of 34 matches in World Cup qualification. In the context of Ahmed Musa’s quest for a century cap, the pronouncement that the match is declared void means that Nigeria’s record of unbeaten run in the World Cup qualifiers is not over yet.

The recent two victories against Liberia and Cape Verde therefore extends Nigeria’s unbeaten streak to 36 matches since the 0-1 loss to Angola on 20 June 2004.

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Nigeria’s record, now 36 matches, is four ahead of Germany and second to only Spain whose unbeaten streak of 66 matches in 28 years was halted last week with the 2-1 loss to Sweden.

For Ahmed Musa, the 100th cap could still be obtained this year if fielded in next month’s back-to-back World Cup qualifying fixtures against Central African Republic.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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