Analysts who are conversant with latest FIFA rules against displaying unsanctioned commercial, political, religious or personal slogans or statements in undershirts during matches have started weighing chances of Nigeria being given additional sanction upon the instant yellow card handed down to Odion Ighalo.
It would be recalled that Ighalo lifted his shirt to reveal a message that and was instantly booked by Egyptian referee, Ghead Grisha after netting the opening goal in the Super Eagles’ 4-0 victory over Cameroon in Uyo on Friday.
The player had after the match told journalists that “the message on my shirt was about religion because it’s ‘thank you Jesus’”.
According to FIFA regulations to fight against racism or allied disruptions, displaying unsanctioned commercial, political, religious or personal slogans or statements in undershirts are outlawed by FIFA and subject to additional sanction or fines including match bans.
The most recent incident of a similar violation is Qatar, who warmed up for their World Cup qualifier against South Korea in June wearing T-shirts with the picture of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to show their support after several Gulf nations and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed economic sanctions on Doha for allegedly supporting “extremism”.
There are clear signs that the officiating Referee, Grisha will include the incident in his report for further action by FIFA.
Ighalo scored Nigeria opener after hobbling off with a twisting turnaround flip from Team Captain, Mikel Obi and out smarted Cameroonian defender before laying a grounder past the goalkeeper.
Super Eagles will this evening, Monday, face Cameroon in return leg of the twin fixtures in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital.
As Zambia walloped Algeria 3-1, analysts say a win for Nigeria today will seal World Cup ticket as Nigeria will be on unbeatable point of 12, leaving Cameroon still at 2, Zambia 4 and Algeria 1.