The cost of Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup | football news

Doha, Qatar Nigerian football fans and business owners in Qatar are still suffering from the failure of their team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in the Middle Eastern country from November 21 to December 18.

Nigeria’s failure to beat Ghana in March prevented them from qualifying for Qatar 2022, a result that shocked not only the nation but also dealt a huge blow to the nearly 12,000 Nigerians in Qatar who were looking forward to watching the team in action and also benefiting from the that. presence in the tournament.

Ekin Romeo, a businessman who has been living in Qatar for nearly 12 years, said Super Eagle’s failure to qualify was heartbreaking and hurt him financially.

“I placed an order for 20,000 Nigerian national team jerseys, which I knew would be in great demand. I was also planning to host the first Nigerian entertainment and fashion week here in Qatar during the World Cup,” Romeo told Al Jazeera.

“The event was to feature some of the best Afrobeats artists, comedians and fashion designers to showcase and promote the Nigerian entertainment and fashion industries.”

But Romeo added that due to the team’s failure to qualify, “the arrangement of the national team shirts has been canceled and events have been postponed while we are working on adjusting them to suit other African countries eligible for the tournament.”

Nigeria has competed in the World Cup finals six times since their debut in the United States in 1994. Since then, the team has qualified for all World Cup tournaments except for Germany 2006.

There are approximately 12,000 Nigerians living in Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

According to Bukola Aliu, Secretary of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) in the Lagos region, the team’s absence from the World Cup has affected sales and travel packages in place since November 2021.

“A lot of people have expressed interest in touring Qatar as well,” Aliu told Al Jazeera from Lagos. “Demand has gone down because most people are no longer interested.”

Emmanuel Nwachukwu of BFD Global Travels in Qatar said his work has also been affected.

“We, like other Nigerians, are disappointed that our business strategy has been highly geared towards Nigerian visitors, but the demand for tickets from Nigeria is now very low.”

Restauranteur Abo Chebib, of Mama’s Place in Qatar, which was the official gastronomic partner of the Nigerian Diaspora (NIDO) group in Qatar, told Al Jazeera that she was no longer receiving inquiries about Qatar from international Nigerian fans.

“The World Cup is about more than just 32 teams. It is about tourism, culture, food, investing and having a good time. By all indications, fewer Nigerians will travel to Qatar, which will have an impact on our business, given that we have spent many years preparing for the World Cup. “.

In the music and entertainment sector in Qatar, the famous Nigerian DJ and Alex said that the absence of the team came as a big shock as it would have given the opportunity to host parties and invite Nigerian artists to visit Qatar and join Davido, who was part of Hayya Hayya, the first. One song from the official 2022 World Cup multi-song soundtrack.

While Nigerian music is popular in Qatar, DJ Walex believes it has the potential to reach a whole different level.

“We recently hosted an African Comedy Festival with the participation of famous Nigerian comedians such as Emmanuella and Aunty Success, which attracted a large audience. Nigeria’s appearance in the World Cup would have been magical as it would have created an atmosphere to attract top Nigerian artists to Qatar who have a large following in the country.”

Nigeria football
Nigeria fans attend the World Cup qualifier match between Nigeria and Ghana [Afolabi Sotunde /Reuters]

According to Ayodeji Bolorunduro, owner of African Hub, a media and advisory firm in Qatar, negative repercussions are occurring for many businesses, including media, branding and advertising.

“When a team like Nigeria, with a total population of around 200 million people, disappears, it affects a lot of businesses and sectors at home and abroad,” Bolorondoro said. “It has cost me advertising, branding and publishing. Nigerians consume a lot of media and entertainment, so the gap is huge.”

The fan club was also hit hard.

Samuel Ikbea, National President of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), has lamented and described the repercussions of his country not qualifying for the World Cup as massive in the world of business and sport.

“It was an unforgettable and unforgettable experience. We had planned to launch the fan club in Doha the day before the World Cup draw, but it didn’t happen because the disappointment drained us all.

“A lot of business people who started making plans or programs that they thought the country would be in the World Cup, are now counting their losses.”

“I lost a lot”

Dominic Ibhagbe, a Nigerian real estate businessman in Qatar, said he “rented two villas from June to December with the aim of hosting about 30 Nigerians with music, food and services.”

“But I lost a lot. I hope to host other nationals, but the difference will be clear.”

For the national football team, the losses are much greater. Aside from the drop in the FIFA rankings, there is a huge loss of income now and in the future.

The team would lose $12.5 million from FIFA for failing to qualify – $2.5 million in preparation fees plus $10 million for qualifying for the group stages.

According to Amajo Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the team would have received 35 per cent ($4.4 million) of the proceeds, which means that the federation and the players not only lost a significant amount at the moment, but also face a loss. Revenues in various sectors in the future.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizers of the 2022 World Cup, has invited the Nigerian community to submit proposals for cultural revitalization.

According to a statement by the Organization of Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDO), the High Commission has stated that depending on the type of performance of Nigerian artists, it will be able to accommodate international artists and deliver a minimum of 10 days of performance.

“The prospects for some Nigerian cultural performances in some fan zones are exciting, but nothing beats the agony of missing out on the World Cup,” said Nido.

“Nigerians are big spenders, and their absence in Qatar will have an impact not only on the commerce and trade of the host country, but the multiplier effect of other businesses in Nigeria as well.”

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