FIFA Goes After Zambia For Political Display During Match

Zambia's national football team players celebrate with the trophy after their victory against Ivory Coast at the stade de l'amitie in Libreville on February 12, 2012, during their Africa Cup of Nations (CAN 2012) final football match. Zambia conjured up a shock when they toppled star-studded Ivory Coast 8-7 in a penalty shoot-out to claim their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

FIFA and Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) have launched an investigation into the behaviour of the Copper Bullets fans during Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Zambia on Saturday evening, reports ghanasoccernet.com.

Photographs show the Zambia fans displaying a banner,’H.E. E.C. LUNGU GOD BLESS YOU’ in the stands at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in support of ‘unpopular’ Zambian president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

FIFA does not allow political messages during games, which means that Zambia could be fined by football’s governing body as a result at the end of the inquiry.

“However, keeping in mind that the rules need to be applied in a neutral and fair manner across FIFA’s 211 member associations, the display, among others, of any political or religious symbol is strictly prohibited.

“In the stadium and on the pitch, there is only room for sport, nothing else,’’ chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Claudio Sulser was quoted as saying by Zambian Observer.

It is claimed that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) were not aware of the behavior of the Zambian fans in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ Manager, Gernot Rohr has revealed that Alex Iwobi was the only player he introduced against Zambia ‎in a bid to change tactics in the 1-0 win.

Rohr, who made two other substitutions, admitted the other changes were made due to injuries to the players who started the game, but that of Iwobi was planned before the game.

Iwobi who scored the winning goal for Nigeria replaced Moses Simon, and according to Rohr, he was lucky to have tucked home the winner 16 minutes from full time.

Rohr said, “Onazi had an injury. He started the game very well. He had an injury, which looks like a hamstring. It’s not easy as we had to make two changes due to injuries and only one tactical change but they did well.

“We were very lucky that the player (Iwobi) who came in ‎got the goal for us. But I believe starting with Simon Moses and bringing in Alex Iwobi when he was brought on was not so easy for us… but we knew he could make the difference.”

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