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Nigerian leader rescinds ban on national soccer team

Nigeria's soccer team failed to make it past Group B at this year's World Cup in South Africa.
Nigeria's soccer team failed to make it past Group B at this year's World Cup in South Africa.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ban on Nigeria's national football team is rescinded by African country's president
  • World governing body FIFA had given Nigeria a Monday deadline to overturn decision
  • President Goodluck Jonathan had banned all Nigerian national teams for two years
  • He was furious after Super Eagles' poor showing at the World Cup in South Africa
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(CNN) -- Nigeria's president has backed down on his decision to suspend the national soccer team, according to the African country's football federation.

The announcement came just before Monday's deadline set by world governing body FIFA, which had threatened to expel Nigeria completely if the ruling was not overturned and also withhold $8 million due for participating at the World Cup.

Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan was so angry with the Super Eagles' poor performance in South Africa that he decided to suspend the national team at all levels for two years.

"The President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on Monday graciously rescinded last Wednesday's decision to withdraw Nigerian national football teams from FIFA/CAF football competitions," the federation said in a statement.

"The decision was made known at the presidential villa on Monday evening as President Jonathan hearkened to the passionate appeals of top officials of the National Sports Commission, the Nigeria Football Federation, other concerned organs of government and well-meaning Nigerians on the matter."

Nigerian leader's 'Obama moment'

Nine members of the NFF's executive committee had earlier been dismissed, including president Sani Lulu and vice-president Amanze Uchegbulam, the UK Press Association reported on Monday.

After hearing of Jonathan's June 30 decision, FIFA wrote to the NFF on Friday warning it of the possible ramifications if the Monday deadline was not met.

Two-time African champions Nigeria finished bottom of Group B at the World Cup after one draw and two defeats.

The Super Eagles brought in former Sweden coach Lars Lagerback after finishing third at the Africa Cup of Nations in January, but he was unable to lift the team's fortunes in matches against Argentina, Greece and South Korea.