The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Issa Hayatou, says Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations has not diminished the country’s importance to the structure of African football.
Hayatou told Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, that the entire African football family would feel the absence of the Super Eagles at next year’s finals.
“The whole of Africa will miss Nigeria in Equatorial Guinea. But the absence will not in any way diminish your stature as a very big and influential nation in the African game,” Hayatou was quoted as saying in an NFF statement.
“It would have been good to have the defending champions in Equatorial Guinea.
“Nigeria brings so much value to the Africa Cup of Nations. However, we know that you will come back much stronger, as you did in winning the Cup in South Africa last year after missing out on the 2012 championship.”
Reigning champions Nigeria will not defend their title in Equatorial Guinea after they finished outside of their group’s top two automatic qualification spots.
The Super Eagles ended the qualifying campaign with eight points – a total not good enough for the best third-placed team.