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Burkina Faso-Nigeria friendly cancelled over UK visa refusals

Nigeria's new coach Gernot Rohr Reuters/Peter Cziborra Livepic

A friendly match between Burkina Faso and Nigeria to be held on Monday at the London borough of Barnet was cancelled because seven Burkina Faso players failed to secure UK entry visas. Nigeria were using the match as part of preparations for their remaining qualifiers for the World Cup 2018 and Africa Cup of Nations 2019.

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) official Chris Green pointed out that the cancellation was "no fault of either the organisers or the Nigeria Football Federation".

"We will announce further plans for the Super Eagles' preparation for these two important qualifying campaigns in due course," he said.

It was only three days before the match, last Friday, that Burkina Faso officials were told of the visa problems.

Earlier on the Super Eagles drew 1-1 with Senegal on Thursday night after Kelechi Iheanacho's late penalty equalled Moussa Sow's opening goal.

No British embassy in Ouagadougou

The NFF officials indicated that they are "extremely disappointed" the match on Monday has been cancelled.

 "There is no British Embassy in Ouagadougou, and officials of the Federation Burkinabé de Football had been shuttling between Accra and Ouagadougou for visa processing," they commented in a statement.

Sources at the Burkina Faso Football Federation sources said the embassy in Accra informed them last week to proceed to Morocco [where they were tp play the Moroccan national team] and that they would get visas there.

But the applications weren't processed when the British embassy in Morocco closed on Friday, the last working day before match day in London.

Nigeria's CAN hopes frustrated

Three-time African champions Nigeria have failed to qualify for the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations.

But the Super Eagles had a head start with their new manager Gernot Rohr, at the helm since August. In the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, they registered a 2-1 win over Zambia and a 3-1 victory against Algeria.

With six points Nigeria now leads their group with four points ahead of Cameroon and Zambia.

Burkina Faso came out third at the latest edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon but lost 2-0 to Morocco in a friendly last Friday in Marrakech.