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World Cup 2022: 'How can Nigeria not be in Qatar’ –  Former Fifa boss Blatter reportedly disappointed

14:53 GMT 11/12/2022
20221108 Sepp Blatter
Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter is reportedly disappointed after Nigeria missed out on qualification for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar..
  • Blatter says Nigeria's absence a huge disappointment
  • Super Eagles beaten by Ghana in World Cup playoffs
  • Blatter also wages into debate around Fifa calendar

WHAT HAPPENED? In a chat with Nigerian journalist, Osasu Obayiuwana, Blatter wondered how the Super Eagles could miss out on the global bonanza.

Nigeria could not go past the Ghana hurdle in the qualification playoffs in March 2022. The Black Stars held on to a 1-1 draw in Nigeria and qualified for the finals on the away goals.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: "I have to tell you that I am very disappointed that the Super Eagles are not at the Qatar 2022 World Cup," Blatter reportedly said in a chat with Obayiuwana.

"How can a big country like Nigeria not be in Qatar? It is a very big absence. I am not happy at all about this."

AND WHAT IS MORE: The former Fifa top official also waded into the debate of shifting the World Cup calendar from the usual June/July period.

"The Fifa World Cup is not the privilege of the Northern Hemisphere," he reportedly added.

"We should not stick to a June/July World Cup calendar because of Europe. The World Cup does not belong to Europe."

Blatter also spoke about the quality of the ongoing finals in Qatar: "The football is not extraordinary. But it is certainly not bad football.

"The Uefa teams are not used to playing a Fifa World Cup in these conditions, which I think is why some of them are facing difficulties.

"Caf and Conmebol teams can play at any time of the year. This is not so for the Uefa teams."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: After seeing off Nigeria and booking a place in the finals, Ghana failed to progress from the preliminary stage.

They finished at the bottom of Group H after an opening loss to Portugal and a win over South Korea.

The former Africa Cup of Nations champions fumbled against Uruguay, and the 2-0 loss meant they would not join Senegal and Morocco in the knockout stage.

The Atlas Lions – who defeated Portugal to reach the last four – are the only remaining African nation in Qatar. Teranga Lions were beaten by England in the Round of 16.

WHAT NEXT FOR NIGERIA? After missing a place in the 2022 finals, Super Eagles coach Jose Peserio has been tasked with qualification for the next edition, but currently their eyes a fixed on qualifying for the 2023 Afcon finals.