FIFA ruling: Emilio Nsue should never have played for Equatorial Guinea

FIFA have announced that Emilio Nsue, the top scorer of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), was ineligible to play for the Equatorial Guinea national team, Nzalang Nacional. The ruling comes as a major blow to Equatorial Guinea, who now face severe repercussions.

FIFA’s Verdict

The FIFA disciplinary committee, led by Anin Yeboah of Ghana, determined that Nsue, who represented Equatorial Guinea for 11 years, should not have played for the team. Nsue had previously competed for Spain’s youth teams, which made him ineligible to switch to the African nation under FIFA’s rules.

“The Respondent, Mr. Emilio Nsue Lopez, is found responsible for having breached art. 5 of the Regulations Governing the Applications of the Statutes (Eligibility to play for a representative team) as well as art. 19 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (Fielding ineligible player) for having participated in matches for the representative teams of Equatorial Guinea despite being ineligible,” stated FIFA.

Consequences for Equatorial Guinea

As a result of this revelation, Equatorial Guinea has been stripped of six points from their World Cup qualifying campaign, forcing them to restart their 2026 World Cup qualification efforts from scratch. FIFA had previously denied a request in 2013 for Nsue to change his nationality, but the Equatorial Guinea federation ignored this ruling and continued to field him.

Nsue, who scored five goals in the recent AFCON tournament in Côte d’Ivoire, has not yet responded to the sanction. FIFA is awaiting a reply from the player, who had six days from the announcement to respond.

Impact and Reactions

This decision has significant implications for Equatorial Guinea’s international football standing. The ruling questions the integrity of national team representations and highlights the importance of adhering to FIFA’s eligibility rules. The Equatorial Guinea Football Federation (FEGUIFUT) now faces scrutiny over its actions, and the future of the national team in international competitions is uncertain.

The scandal has also brought attention to other allegations Nsue has made against FEGUIFUT, further complicating the situation.

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