Despite coach Edwin Okon’s spirited defence of her player Ugo Njoku for elbowing an Australia striker, Sam Kerr, and the growing calls from the Australian media and the team for a ban on the defender, FIFA Monday handed down a three-match ban on the Nigerian Super Falcons player.
In a statement issued by FIFA, Monday morning, it said the decision became necessary after asserting the Nigerian’s poor challenge in the game which the Super Falcons lost 2-0 on Friday.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has reached a decision in the case related to Ugo Njoku of Nigeria following an incident that occurred during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 match between Australia and Nigeria played on 12 June 2015,” the statement reads.
“Ugo Njoku has been suspended for three matches and fined CHF 3,000 as well as being issued with a warning by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee after being found to have breached art. 48 par. 1 d) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC).
“Disciplinary proceedings had been opened in accordance with art. 77 a) of the FDC which states that the Disciplinary Committee is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention.
“The first of the three-match suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 fixture between Nigeria and USA on 16 June 2015, with the remaining two to be served either at any subsequent matches within the competition or, in the case that Nigeria would be eliminated, at the next official matches of the Nigerian national team in analogous application of art. 38 par. 2 lit. a) of the FDC,” it concluded.
Head coach of Nigeria’s women team Edwin Okon has defended player Ugo Njoku who allegedly elbowed Australia striker, saying the elbowing of Kerr was not deliberate by his defender and that the call for a ban was needless.
Despite the Maltidas’ increasing appeal for a ban over the ‘deliberate’ challenge that saw Kerr injure her jaw, Okon insists the elbow by Njoku was not premeditated.
“It was not deliberate. As you all know, it’s a game of contact,” Okon told media in a response to the challenge which happened late in the second half.
The substitute escaped the referee’s sanction for the action against the Matildas striker but has now been punished after a post-match video assessment.
Nigeria defender was also fined 641,349.27 Naira by FIFA after being found guilty of elbowing Australia striker Sam Kerr in their last match.
The substitute escaped the referee’s sanction for the action in the second half but has now been punished after a post-match video assessment.
The Australian striker suffered a broken jaw from the incident.
This development means, Njoku will miss Nigeria’s final group D clash against the USA as Edwin Okon’s ladies hope for a win to reach the round of 16.