Wednesday 28 June 2017

Kaita threat was 'lost in translation' as Nigeria stay upbeat

Nigeria have played down the threats on the life of midfielder Sani Kaita, suggesting the scare might be the result of a misunderstanding over the use of language in the West African state.

Kaita was dismissed for kicking a Greek defender on the touchline last Thursday as Nigeria lost 2-1 to Greece, their second defeat at the World Cup.

On Sunday, team spokesman Peterside Idah said the player had received "more than 1,000 threats to his email from within Nigeria" and the team were "taking these threats very seriously".

"There's nothing official that's really come out that there's been a threat on Kaita's life," Idah told a news conference yesterday.

"It's just rumours and his friends talking about it. There's nothing official that we can begin to panic.

"In our language, if we say 'we will kill you', it means we are not happy with you. If a German hears 'I will kill you', it means you are dying next week. We really need to clear up this matter."

Impact

Midfielder Dickson Etuhu said although the players sympathised with Kaita, they would not allow the threats, real or rumoured, to impact on their decisive Group B match against South Korea today.

"At the end of the day, we are all professionals and we have been playing under pressure for a long time," he said. "We have to deal with it. Football is a passionate game and people sometimes say silly things."

The West Africans must overcome South Korea tonight in Durban and need Argentina to beat Greece in the other Group B match in Polokwane to stage a stunning turnaround in their fortunes.

"The attitude in the group has been very good so I'm very positive about the game," said coach Lars Lagerback.

"Then we need Argentina to beat Greece, but I think we've got a good chance of getting a result against South Korea."

Irish Independent

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