March 20, 2023



14 days to FIFA World Cup: Why did Nigeria not qualify?

Footballers, officers, followers and enterprise house owners in Qatar are counting their losses after the nationwide staff did not qualify for the World Cup.

Nigerian soccer followers and enterprise house owners in Qatar are nonetheless reeling from their staff’s failure to qualify for the World Cup 2022, which will likely be held within the Center Japanese nation from November 21 to December 18.

Nigeria’s failure to beat Ghana in March prevented them from qualifying for Qatar 2022, a outcome that shocked not solely the nation but in addition dealt an enormous blow to the approximate 12,000 Nigerians in Qatar who have been wanting ahead to watching the staff in motion and in addition benefitting from its presence on the match.

Ekene Romeo, a businessman who has lived in Qatar for practically 12 years, mentioned the Tremendous Eagles’ failure to qualify was heartbreaking and hit him financially.

“I had positioned an order for 20,000 Nigerian nationwide staff jerseys, which I knew can be in excessive demand. I used to be additionally planning to host the primary ever Nigerian leisure and style week right here in Qatar in the course of the World Cup,” Romeo informed Al Jazeera.

“The occasion would’ve featured a few of the greatest Afrobeats artists, comedians and style designers to showcase and promote the Nigerian leisure and style industries.”

Nevertheless, Romeo added, as a result of staff’s failure to qualify, “the order for the nationwide staff jerseys was cancelled and the occasions have been placed on maintain whereas we work out the way to modify it to slot in different African international locations certified for the match”.

Nigeria has been at six World Cups since its maiden look at USA 1994. Since then, the staff certified for all World Cup tournaments other than Germany 2006.

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thumama stadium
There are roughly 12,000 Nigerians dwelling in Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

In keeping with Bukola Aliu, secretary of the Nationwide Affiliation of Nigeria Journey Businesses (NANTA) Lagos zone, the staff’s absence from the World Cup has affected gross sales and journey packages put in place since November 2021.

“Many individuals expressed an curiosity in touring Qatar as effectively,” Aliu informed Al Jazeera from Lagos. “The demand has diminished as a result of most individuals are now not .”

Emmanuel Nwachukwu of BFD World Travels in Qatar mentioned his enterprise has been affected as effectively.

“We, like different Nigerians, are upset as a result of our enterprise technique was closely geared in direction of Nigerian guests, however demand for tickets from Nigeria is extraordinarily low now.”

Restauranteur Abo Chebib, of Mama’s Place in Qatar, which has been the official gastronomic associate of the group group Nigerians in Diaspora Group (NIDO) in Qatar, informed Al Jazeera she now not obtain enquiries about Qatar from worldwide Nigerian followers.

“The World Cup is about extra than simply the 32 groups. It’s about tourism, tradition, meals, funding and having a superb time. From all indications, fewer Nigerians will journey to Qatar, which can have an effect on our enterprise, provided that now we have spent a few years getting ready for the World Cup,” Chebib mentioned.

In Qatar’s music and leisure sector, well-liked Nigerian DJ Walex mentioned the staff’s absence was a serious shock as a result of it might have afforded the chance to host events and invite Nigerian artists to go to Qatar and be part of Davido, who was a part of the Hayya Hayya, the primary single of the multi-song World Cup 2022 official soundtrack.

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Whereas Nigerian music is well-liked in Qatar, DJ Walex believes it had the potential of reaching a distinct degree altogether.

“We lately hosted an African comedy competition with well-liked Nigerian comedians corresponding to Emmanuella and Aunty Success, which drew a big viewers. A World Cup look for Nigeria would have been magical as a result of it might have created an environment to draw high Nigerian artists to Qatar who’ve a big following within the nation.”

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Nigeria’s supporters attend the World Cup qualifier match between Nigeria and Ghana [Afolabi Sotunde /Reuters]

In keeping with Ayodeji Bolorunduro, proprietor of African Hub, a media and consulting agency in Qatar, destructive fallout is occurring for a lot of companies, together with media, branding and publicity.

“When a staff like Nigeria, with a complete inhabitants of about 200 million, goes lacking, it impacts plenty of companies and sectors at house and overseas,” Bolorunduro mentioned. “It has price me in promoting, branding and publishing. Nigerians devour plenty of media and leisure, so the hole is important.”

The supporters’ membership has additionally been hit laborious.

Samuel Ikpea, nationwide chairman of the Nigeria Soccer Supporters Membership (NFSC), expressed remorse and described the implication of the nation’s non-qualification for the World Cup as huge in each enterprise and sports activities worlds.

“It might have been an unforgettable and memorable expertise. We had deliberate to launch the supporters membership in Doha the day earlier than the World Cup draw, nevertheless it didn’t occur as a result of we have been all consumed by disappointment.

“Lots of businessmen who had began planning or programmes believing that the nation will likely be on the World Cup at the moment are counting their losses.”

‘I’ve misplaced considerably’

Dominic Ibhagbe, a Nigerian actual property businessman in Qatar, mentioned he had “rented two villas from June to December with the intention of internet hosting about 30 Nigerians with music, meals and companies”.

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“However I’ve misplaced considerably. My hope is to host different nationals, however the distinction will likely be apparent,” he added.

For the nationwide soccer staff, the losses are far higher. Apart from a drop in FIFA rankings, there’s a important lack of revenue now and sooner or later.

The staff will miss out on $12.5m from FIFA for failing to qualify – a $2.5m preparation price plus $10m for qualifying for the group phases.

In keeping with Amaju Pinnick, Nigeria Soccer Federation (NFF) president, the staff would have obtained 35 p.c ($4.4m) of the proceeds, that means that the federation and the gamers haven’t solely misplaced a major quantity proper now but in addition face a lack of income in several sectors sooner or later.

The Supreme Committee for Supply and Legacy (SC), organisers of the World Cup 2022, has invited the Nigerian group to submit cultural activation proposals.

In keeping with an announcement by the Nigerians in Diaspora Group (NIDO), the SC acknowledged that relying on the kind of efficiency by Nigerian artists, it is going to be capable of accommodate worldwide artists and provide them a minimal of 10 days of efficiency.

“The prospect of some Nigerian cultural performances in a few of the fan zones is thrilling, however nothing beats the agony of lacking the World Cup,” NIDO mentioned.

“Nigerians are huge spenders, and their absence in Qatar will have an effect not solely on the host nation’s commerce and commerce, but in addition on the multiplier impact of different companies in Nigeria, too.”