26th June, 2010
The Nigerian community in Durban, South Africa have added more voices calling on Nigerians all over the world to forgive redâ€“carded Super Eagles player, Sani Kaita who was fingered for Nigeria’s loss in 2010 World Cup second group match to Greece last week.
The Russiaâ€“based midfielder was sent packing from the match for his indiscretion and unwaranted attack on Greek player in Blomfontein, causing a major setback for the Eagles.
It was a general believe that the former AS Monaco of France’s Kaita skewed Nigeriaâ€™s World Cup train in a moment of intemperate action, when he earned a straight red card in the Group B tie.
Nigeria was 1-0 up and on the front foot when Kaita lashed out a foot at a Greek midfielder and was expelled.
The Super Eagles appeared to lose their bearing from that moment and eventually lost 1-2. This followed a 0-1 loss to Argentina in their opening match and after a 2-2 draw with South Korea this week, the Eagles’ last bus stop in the tournament.
President of the Nigerian community in Durban, Dennis Osazuwa said: â€œWe have followed everything that has been said and written since that match and we know that our people all over the world feel very bad about what happened.”But, you look at it and agree that in sport, such things happen. We have to look at the good job the young man has being doing since he started representing the country and forgive him. He could not have gone out of his way to attract a red card. It happened in a moment of indiscretion and all of us must forgive him”, he appealed.
â€œNigerians should forgive him and just let us look aheadâ€,Bisi Alawiye-Adeyeye, a member of the community, added: â€œKaita has been one of the strong performers in our national team for years. He also did very well at the U-20 and U-23 levels. This is the same guy who marked out Argentinaâ€™s Lionel Messi in the Olympic football tournament final in Beijing two years ago.
â€œWe may feel bad that his expulsion eventually led to our early ouster from the World Cup. But we have to admit that in sport, these things happen. We remember Zinedine Zidane in the Final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, when he got a straight red card for headâ€“butting a player. Perhaps if he had been there, France would have won the penalty shoot-out.
â€œAt this tournament, we have seen the expulsion of superstars like Kaka of Brazil and Miroslav Klose of Germany. Heaven has not fallen. So, we simply plead that Nigerians all over the world forgive the young man, Kaitaâ€.
It would be recalled that Kaita came out to apologise for his ungentlemanly conduct in South Africa. The player also disclosed that he has been receiving death threats via e-mails from some angry Nigerians before he departed Johannesburg with the squad yesterday.
By Tunde Oyedele, Durban, South Africa