Chad have withdrawn from qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, dealing a huge blow to Nigeria’s chances of reaching the tournament.
Reports suggest financial constraints have prompted the decision, with Chad sitting bottom of Group G after three defeats from as many matches.
In accordance with qualifying rules, all points gained from matches involving Chad will now be discarded, leaving Nigeria two points adrift of leaders Egypt with only two matches – including a must-not-lose trip to Alexandria on Tuesday – to turn things around.
“If a team withdraws from the qualifying phase organised in groups, all its results shall be annulled (points, scored and conceded goals).”
— CAF (@CAF_Online) March 27, 2016
Nigeria, who failed to reach the 2015 tournament having lifted the trophy in 2013, had been in the running to qualify as one of two best runners-up, but CAF confirmed that only the top-placed team will now be eligible to qualify from Group G.
Tanzania currently sit a point behind Nigeria in third.
Chad have been fined $20,000 for pulling the plug on their campaign.
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