FIFA sanctions Equatorial Guinea and Emilio Nsue for ineligibility

AP , Friday 24 May 2024

For the second time, Equatorial Guinea must forfeit two World Cup qualifying games for fielding star player Emilio Nsue when he was ineligible, FIFA said Friday.

Emilio Nsue
FILE - Equatorial Guinea's Emilio Nsue, celebrates scoring his second goal during the African Cup of Nations Group A soccer match between Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Jan. 22, 2024. Photo: AP


The second FIFA disciplinary case involving Nsue's eligibility comes 11 years after the first.

The latest ruling was announced just four months after he was the tournament's top scorer at the African Cup of Nations, where he was permitted to play by the continent's governing soccer body CAF.

FIFA said its disciplinary committee ruled that Equatorial Guinea’s first two World Cup qualifying games played last November must be forfeited as 3-0 losses. Equatorial Guinea won both games, against Namibia and Liberia, 1-0 with Nsue scoring the goal.

That puts Equatorial Guinea in last place in its six-team qualifying group for the 2026 tournament. It had previously been tied on six points with group leader Tunisia. Only the group winners qualify for the World Cup being hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The ruling writes another chapter in an increasingly bizarre international career for the 34-year-old Nsue, who was born in Spain.

In 2013, FIFA did not specify why Nsue, then playing in Spain for Mallorca, was ineligible to play for Equatorial Guinea in qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

On Friday, FIFA also did not specify the breach of eligibility rules but said its judges were “comfortably satisfied that the player was ineligible.”

FIFA has jurisdiction over the World Cup but not continental competitions like the AFCON, which is organized by the Confederation of African Football.

Nsue scored five goals in January during the group stage of the AFCON, including two in a stunning 4-0 win over host Ivory Coast. Equatorial Guinea was eliminated in the round of 16.

FIFA fined the Equatorial Guinea soccer federation 150,000 Swiss francs ($164,000) and banned Nsue from playing for any national team for six months.

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