Exposed: “Nigerian” Named in Equatorial Guinea Squad for 2018 AWCON Qualifier
It is now news that Equatorial Guinea has been punished several times by FIFA for fielding ineligible players in various competitions. Late last year they were banned from the 2019 Women’s World Cup after they picked ten ineligible Brazilians.
The African women football giants were also fined £78,000 for the stunt but if you thought the Equatorial Guinean Football Federation learnt from that mistake you will be shocked.
Interim national team head coach, Daniel LoLa has already sent invitation to Blessing Diala, a Nigerian, for the upcoming 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON), two legged qualifier against Kenya with the first leg set to be played on June 6 in Nairobi.
According to a revelation by well-placed source at the Equatorial Guinean Federation, Diala is not a pure Equatorial Guinean and her documents were “illegally” acquired years back to enable her represent her adopted country.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Diala is a pure Nigerian and she does not have any roots in the country. How she obtained her citizenship simply I cannot tell,”[/perfectpullquote]
the source revealed to Ducor Sports.
This is not the first time the midfielder will be with Equatorial Guinea national team as her first call-up was way back in 2006 when she was named in squad for that year’s Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Months before that very first call-up, already “crooks” at the Equatorial Guinean Federation had already processed her documents for the controversial swoop, which has never been detected by CAF nor world football governing body FIFA.
The passport was prepared with named Blessing Nnabugun and “fake” documents made indicating that she played for an Equatorial Guinean side, Aguilas Verdes FC, a club that she has never played in her entire life.
A search on Confederations of African Football (CAF) website does not indicate if she played in any of the 2006 AWCON matches but independent investigations shows by 2011, Diala had featured 17 times for Equatorial Guinea, scoring 4 goals in various Caf and Fifa sanctioned tournaments.
Fifa rule dictates that players with no blood connection to a country are only allowed to represent it if they have lived and played there for five years. But for the forward who currently plays for Deportivo Eviyong in the Central African nation, the rule was not followed.
Diala started her football career back in Nigeria in 2004 and never played for any local football team in Equatorial Guinea before she acquired her citizenship, until 2016 when she signed for Super Leones.
Before that stint, she played for Bobruichanka FC in Belarus for a period of one year. It is reported that she went back to her family in Enugu, Nigeria after the contract ended where she stayed for a period of one year and then went back to central African nation to re-start her football career.
Efforts to reach the player and the federation for a comment about the acquisitions by one of their insiders were unfruitful as calls went un-answered.
It should be noted that in April 2016 Equatorial Guinea was banned by Fifa from participating in the 2020 Olympics qualification tournament because of almost similar case. They were found guilty of fielding Camila Maria do Carmo Nobre de Oliveira who in several occasions had falsified documents to represent the country.
Caf also banned the team from three Africa Women Cup of Nations for the same offence which resulted in their disqualification from the 2016 Nations Cup finals in Cameroon. The Caf ban was lifted in July last year.
The Equatorial Guinea’s women national team is two-time African champions and pundits predict that they will easily go past Kenya in the two-legged qualifier.
A win or a top three finish for Equatorial Guinea in the continental showpiece which acts as 2019 FIFA Would Cup direct ticket, would present an interesting scenario as the team is ineligible for the World Cup.