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Moment of madness costs Nigeria dear

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Paul Fletcher | 19:11 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Bloemfontein

Nigeria midfielder Sani Kaita had the thousand-yard stare and weary, monotone voice of a man who had quickly grasped the impact of his actions as he answered questions about the red card he was given during Thursday's match against Greece.

The match turned completely on his moment of madness after 33 minutes, with the Super Eagles 1-0 lead eventually becoming a bruising and costly 2-1 defeat.

"I am sorry for the whole of Nigeria," said Kaita, who understandably looked like he would be just about anywhere else rather than in front of the semi-circle of journalists attempting to establish with almost forensic detail his version of events.

"It was not the right thing to do and I hope it will not happen again. I made a mistake. That is all."

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Highlights - Greece beat Nigeria Korea (UK only)

Kaita had tangled with Vassilis Torosidis, who later scored the winning goal, as they competed for the ball close to the touchline.

The Nigerian aimed a kick in the direction of his opponent's leg and Torosidis went down holding his face, in what was an unseemly if hardly surprising example of the win-at-all costs philosophy that besmirches the modern game.

The whole incident was regrettable and ended with Kaita taking a long and slow march across the pitch to the dressing room.

Kaita watched on television as Greece's wily old coach Otto Rehhagel swiftly abandoned his ultra-defensive formation in favour of a rarely glimpsed attacking ambition that saw his team record their first victory at a World Cup.

Nigeria veteran Kanu revealed that the red card had left the 24-year-old Kaita in tears. Kaita himself said that he had been surprised to be dismissed but team-mate Yakubu, who failed to convert an excellent second-half chance, felt that it was the right decision.

"He was a little bit carried away but will learn from the mistake," said the Everton striker.

There can be no doubt that playing for Nigeria brings huge expectations from a fanatical and expectant public.

"There are 150 million of them and all of them think they are a manager or a coach," added Yakubu.

Shortly before the World Cup the Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan said: "I expect the Super Eagles to prepare well and win this trophy."

However, this Nigerian team were always unlikely to be able to match Jonathan's unrealistic ambition.

This is Nigeria's fourth World Cup campaign but they only just scraped through qualification, needing a late Obafemi Martins goal to defeat Kenya, while Mozambique stunned Tunisia.

Nigeria have some excellent players, such as goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, full-back Taye Taiwo and forward Peter Odemwingie. They also have players with superb potential, such as 19-year-old midfielder Lukman Haruna.

But they are without the injured John Obi Mikel in South Africa and are not of the same standard of many of the Super Eagles teams that have played with such flair over the last decade and a half. They lack the creativity that was provided by the likes of Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George and Jay-Jay Okocha.

Their Swedish coach Lars Lagerback was appointed in February, but did not hold his first training session with his players until 20 May and had just three friendlies to settle upon a formation.

Nigerian managers such as Samson Siasia, Oliseh and Stephen Keshi would have been potentially interested but were overlooked, while Lagerback beat off competition from Glenn Hoddle and Sven-Goran Eriksson to land the role.

But if his appointment was based on his coaching experience with his native Sweden at the 2002 and 2006 finals, then I don't think his decision making on Wednesday vindicated the decision.

Rehhagel, who presided over Greece's remarkable Euro 2004 triumph, changed his side's entire strategy four minutes after Kaita was dismissed by taking off a defender and bringing on a forward.

Lagerback waited until the break to make a change, replacing Odemwingie with Chinedu Obasi and sending his team out for the second-half with Yakubu as the lone striker and two banks of four behind him.

By that time, however, the damage had been done. The momentum of the match had changed irreversibly and a Greek side that appeared to be slipping out of the tournament were reinvigorated - as well as on level terms.

I also think that Lagerback made a mistake in playing Yakubu for the entire 90 minutes. Surely as the match wore on the striker should have been replaced by the fresh legs of the pacey Martins?

"Every four years there is a World Cup and qualifying from the group is decided in just three games," mused Lagerback, who knew the structure of the competition and indeed the composition of Nigeria's group before he accepted the job.

However, all is not yet lost for the Super Eagles and their fanatical fans as Thursday's result leaves Group B fascinatingly poised with one round of games left.

Argentina have six points and take on Greece, who have three thanks to their win over Nigeria.

South Korea, thumped 4-1 by Argentina in the group's other match on Thursday, have three points after defeating Greece, and take on Nigeria.

"We have one more game to go and we will keep fighting and see how it goes," added Yakubu, who clearly has not given up on the possibility of reaching the round of 16.

But with Kaita suspended and Taye Taiwo, who possesses an excellent long-range shot, injured, it will take a remarkable upturn in fortunes if the rock-bottom Super Eagles are to soar up Group B and snatch second place.

You can follow me throughout the World Cup at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Kaita is the hero of the hour....for Greece! My goodness how the game turned, the red card really rejuvenated a Greek side missing any threat in attack whilst Nigeria were well and truly in control of the game.

  • Comment number 2.

    Sorry but kicking another player deserves a red card whether he was provoked or not.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sorry but kicking another player deserves a red card whether he was provoked or not.

    ---------

    Very much so, although the Greek player produced a Rivaldoesc reaction, there is a simple way to prevent that. Don't give him the excuse

  • Comment number 4.

    Stupid thing to do, the Greek dudes reaction was pretty bad aswell.

  • Comment number 5.

    3. At 10:17pm on 17 Jun 2010, VillainV wrote:

    Sorry but kicking another player deserves a red card whether he was provoked or not.
    [- Fully agree -]

    ---------

    Very much so, although the Greek player produced a Rivaldoesc reaction, there is a simple way to prevent that. Don't give him the excuse
    [- That should be red-carded too. Then we'll see all the panto stop pronto! -]

  • Comment number 6.

    [- That should be red-carded too. Then we'll see all the panto stop pronto! -]

    ---------------------------------------

    There would definitely be no complaints if that was the case! The lack of Sportsmanship shown by the Greek player should have deserved some punishment

  • Comment number 7.

    The red card was deserved, even though it was a pretty tame kick, but the reaction - trying to get another player sent off by faking an injury - is just as bad. The referees should look into clear cases after the match and hand out suspensions. Until FIFA do this, players will continue to play act in this pathetic manner. Of course, FIFA won't because their commitment to fair play is in name only.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ha hahaahaha ha I love reading these comments. The referees decision was correct, regardless of what the Greek did. The lack of 'Sportsmanship' was shown by the red carded player. How long did it take him to leave the pitch?

  • Comment number 9.

    Well, if you see the replay, the Greek player first bumped the ball into Kaita's chest / stomach, before Kaita lashed out. Am not saying that he shouldn't have gotten a red, but the provocation was not just verbal, it was physical.

    Also Paul: the Nigerian fullback Taiwo and his replacement both had to be substituted due to injury -- so Lagerback had no chance to bring on Martins.

  • Comment number 10.

    Lagerback has been useless. Why is Martins not starting these matches? He's one of the best players in the Nigerian squad, and he should be one of the first names on the teamsheet. If the idea is to punt him on for the last 20 minutes when the opposition's legs are tired, then the two left-backs getting injured just showed what a silly idea it is.

    You're correct that this Nigerian squad does not perhaps have the wealth of talent that previous squads (particularly 1998) did, but they should still be beating this awful-to-watch Greek side easily enough. Why must Nigeria always press the self-destruct button at the World Cup? I'm reminded of 1998 in their second-round match against Denmark, when at 2-0 down, Kanu was clean on goal and decided he would try and become the first person in the history of the world to round Peter Schmeichel, when he could have just beat him with a good shot. Needless to say, he failed, and they went on to lose 4-1. It was the same here: 1-0 up, and all they had to do was keep their heads and not do anything stupid. Then Kaita does something stupid.

    To be fair to Nigeria, they were desperately unlucky today - Enyeama had the shot covered until it took a wicked deflection for the first goal, and the second was such a shame when the commentators had just been saying "Premiership managers should be keeping an eye on Enyeama". He's been their star so far, and if they do manage to qualify, it will be thanks to him keeping their goals difference tight. When your left-back gets injured putting in a cross, and then his replacement also gets injured, you know it's not your day. But the fact remains: if Nigeria want to stand any chance of becoming the first African nation to progress past the quarter-finals, they need to start getting serious about organising the team properly. Get a decent referee, give him unconditional backing, and help him get a squad together when he needs it, rather than a few weeks beforehand. As the most populous country in Africa - as well as being included in the Next 11 list of future economic powers - surely it's time they fulfilled their obvious potential on the world footballing stage?

  • Comment number 11.

    am hurt but that is football,kaita was wrong and has shown he is not exposed and doesnt appreciate the rule of the game.his punishment is well deserved.obasi,yakubu both should have shown a little class,at least both had a golden chance to score.however am not surprised.the super eagles have long lost its glory and cant even boast of an excellent player anymore.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    People come on!
    Are you not tired of excusing anybody that looses against Greece? Anyway... Greece has made 30 shots (most of them on goal) against a Nigerian team that delivered only 11 ! Man of the match for the Nigerians is by far the goalkeeper. In this match Greece played agressive, fast and it was a delight to see. As for the red card the Nigerian player kicked with the bottom of his shoe which is unacceptable even for regional football.

  • Comment number 14.

    Paul,

    Martins wasn't brought on for Yakubu as both Taiwo and his substitute left back got injured. add the substitution (Obasi) made at halftime that's 3. although I've already suggested to have a chance for 4 changes it is not accepted yet by FIFA. :-)

    however, that doesn't change the fact that Lagerbeck (re)acted slowly and Yakubu (and later Obasi) should have scored at the 2nd half. a team not able to finish a 2-on-1 situation with just a keeper to beat doesn't deserve to get through. I advise Yakubu to watch the 1st Mexican goal and learn how to finish in these situations.

  • Comment number 15.

    No Surprises for me! Nigerian Football continues to impressively "snatch defeat from the Jaws of Victory" as a friend of mine once put it. Whether it's down to the initial poor preparation before the tournament or the lack of skill, urgency and belief in the task, I cannot say. The captain chewing gum during the national anthem says it all for me! Contrast with the tears from North Korea's Mae or France's Patrice Evra!

    It bemuses me that in spite of the experience, passion, love for the game and height of expectation that Nigerians pride themselves in, we would still revert to employing "grandfathers of football" (reference to their falsified ages) and always adopt the quick fix option without the consideration of future developments. This world cup should have been a fresh start with the inclusion of young talented players who are hungry for success. Certainly not the old, unmotivated and lackluster present squad of "area-boys" that have failed to perform at their respective club levels!

    The team is a disjointed bunch of underachieving individuals supported by a volatile and mis-managed football association. What possible chance does one expect to have against the elite of the world? The glory days of USA 94 and Atlanta 96….the Legends such as Jay-Jay, Yekini, Oliseh, Amokachi.....all seem like another reality. Wake up Nigeria....we need an overhaul of personnel and a change of mentality to resemble anything remotely close to A Super Eagle!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Guys let us be honest with ourself Eagle parformed far below expectation. lagerback should be able to explain to us why he refuse to bring Obafemi in ,Yakubu need to correct his football style as a striker, he does not have pase anymore , 2 heavy and he hardly complete a single pass, dem we don't need such player. i can bet anybody we can never beat south korea .Lagerback technical ability should be Question as well, Nigeria need a manager who will be proactive.

  • Comment number 17.

    The Eagles can easily qualify (with a little help from the Argies of course). Any win by Argentina and any win by Nigeria will see them through to the last 16. The goal difference set them up beautifully for this. So there are some straws to clutch at after all.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is a beautiful piece by Fletcher.
    Your understanding of the game will encourage me to further follow you.
    I expect that you will be dishing out news from and about african players on the bbc african sports page..thanks

  • Comment number 19.

    Very costly mistake by Kaita. Cost his team the game because Greece weren't going onto doing anything in this match without that red card: and it was deserved.

    Watching Greece is awful but made up for sometimes by Georgio Samaras: the man is a comedy on a football park! How did this guy ever get even this far!?!

    The Argies will not risk their big players against Greece. Nigeria could be waving bye-bye. Not convinced they will beat SKorea.

  • Comment number 20.

    I totally agree with the sending off as he did raise his foot in anger (even though it merely brushed the guys leg) but the worst part of it wasn't even the falling over of the greek player, it was the fact that as soon as the red card was shown athere was barely 1 second past before he shot straight up onto his feet and walked away.

    At least I suppose he had the gaul to limp away afterwards tho :-o

    That shoud be looked at and punishment/ warning handed out, because it seems to be creeping in more and more into this world cup as the matches go on.

  • Comment number 21.

    Kaita was clearly wrong and a red card was justified, however the beautiful game is no longer beautiful. I am sick of over paid so called sportmen play acting. Kaita bearly touched the Greek player but judging from his reaction you would think that he was on the receiving end of a full force kick. When will referees stop allowing this pathetic behaviour. All that is required is for a few players to be red carded for acting in an unsportman like manner.

  • Comment number 22.

    The way Enyeama conceded the second goal makes me think there is more to this jabulani ball than meets the eye

  • Comment number 23.

    Re: The Jabulani Ball

    The way I see it it is a combination of the ball and the altitude. If the ball is lightly and more airodynamic to fly truer then it will ceratinly make a difference. Spain/ Italy and event the Brasilians at times have had trouble controlling and using the ball to their tectnical ability.

    I think that it will improve the faurther teams go in the competition, the more teams use it the better they will become. It is no secret that Germany, whose players have been using this ball for 6 months in the BundesLeague are more comfitable with it. But even they struggled a few times.

    From what i can gather, all teams and leagues were offered the chance to test the ball, but some were not able to due to existing contacts with ball manufactuers (i.e. EPL and Nike!)

  • Comment number 24.

    I am an African. I am happy that the Nigerian team who are collection of the Kaitas are on the way out of the World cup. They does not deserve to represent Africa. Why on earth kick he a standing player who is very much away from half of the goal and get red?

    The Refree did great Job. Red card is the minimum that Kaita should be give.

    Kaita failed not only Nigeria but also Africa.

    I'm proud of the Ghanians, the Black stars, who are true Africans.

    Ghanians, Black stars, my prayers are always with you.
    Let not only Ghanians but the Whole Africa proud of you;

    May God Bless you, The Black Stars

  • Comment number 25.

    8. At 11:23pm on 17 Jun 2010, gattofi wrote:
    Ha hahaahaha ha I love reading these comments. The referees decision was correct, regardless of what the Greek did. The lack of 'Sportsmanship' was shown by the red carded player. How long did it take him to leave the pitch?
    -------------------------------------------------------
    I am fairly certain if I were to play on the world stage, acted in such a childish manner and received my marching orders, it would take me an absolute age to leave the field of play. It was time wasting of a rather high order in my opinion.
    However, as previous comments have stated, FIFA need to crack down on play acting, how many free kicks and penalties have the likes of Ronaldo received through simulation (I know some of the more disshonest players on every team would do the same having the opportunity, just using him as a case scenario). 'NotaViking' hit the nail on the head 'FIFA won't because their commitment to fair play is in name only.'

  • Comment number 26.

    Ha hahaahaha ha I love reading these comments. The referees decision was correct, regardless of what the Greek did. The lack of 'Sportsmanship' was shown by the red carded player. How long did it take him to leave the pitch?

    -----------------

    Yes he was right to get sent off, it was a stupid move and theres no debate about the red card. But did you not see the overreaction by the Greek player like hes been shot in the leg? Disgraceful play acting,

  • Comment number 27.

    It was a moment of madness and deserved a red card, although Torosidis did not exactly cover himself in glory.

    It was nice to see Greece use the high-tempo, attacking football that they played in the qualifiers. Now that the psychological barrier is broken and they have their first ever WC goals and points, I hope that they carry that philosophy into the game against Argentina, instead of going back to the uber-defensive mentality.

    Can't see Greece getting anything out of the game, so they might as well go for it and at least try to test the Argentinian defence.

  • Comment number 28.

    Was it just me? Or did the Nigerian player look rather confused/shocked as to why he had received the card... ?

  • Comment number 29.

    Utterly stupid of Sanni Keita(as well as brainless), as the BBC commentator said, but come to think of it, most Nigerian footballers are not the brightest guys in the world are they?
    And our brothers from that part of the country always show such disregard/indiscipline, always thinking they can get away with anything, especially in Nigeria, serves us right!

    Let them keep using the quota system/the grandfathering system, thats why we have been regressing, if Yakubu and that m/o/r/o/n Obasi are some of our best best players then frankly we deserve what we are getting!

  • Comment number 30.

    Keita lost his mind and ultimatley lost Nigeria the game. It would have been interesting to see when the Greeks would come out of their shell if Keita had not been sent off knowing that a result was paramount if they were to have any chance of qualifying. Fingers crossed one of the African teams get through, Ghana seem like they have the best chance even without Essien. Despite the mistake by Vincent "Rob Green" Enyeama I would not be surprised if a big club came knocking this summer the boy has been quality so far

    www.tobymeyjes.co.uk

  • Comment number 31.

    A new word has been added to the Dictionary."KAITA" A man who single handedly hinders the hope of his country for reason best known to him. "Kaita" can be use in place of words like Jeopardy, Hinder, Sabotage, Disrupt, Antagonist, fool etc. Examples are "Don't 'Kaita' what we have been building for 11 yrs in one day","Don't be a Kaita", "his chances of progressing was 'Kaitarised' by his childish behaviour" e.t.c.

  • Comment number 32.

    The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, surely has the greatest name of any world leader past or present.

  • Comment number 33.

    A moment of madness yes, sending off yes, but am I on my own in thinking that FIFA should really start acting on the disgracful play acting we see nowadays. That greek went down like he had his leg chopped off, my 5 year old wouldnt have flinched at a kick that hard. It really spoils my enjoyment of the game to see this behaviour tolerated by the governing body.. They dont even have the decency to call it cheating , but go for the all to politically correct phrase of simulation.. Please FIFA take a step forward in rooting the cheats out of the game.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    I agree with Paul Fletcher that the act of Sani Keita is 'madness'. He totally deserved the sending off and I hope that wouldn't mark his last game for the Super Eagles, because Nigerians dont forgive easily.
    However, no one seem to be talking about the technicalities of the game and expectations from Coach Lars Lagerback. He obviously didn't get it right!
    I expected him to have brought in Obafemi Martins who would have made up for the short one by his pace instead of the inconsistent Ogbuke and also change the pattern of play. We only know the worth of a good coach when the chips are down!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    That card turned the game around in that Greece braved the attack with a man advantage but I've got to think they probably had it in them anyway if they would play more aggressively.

  • Comment number 37.

    Now then - many thanks for all your comments.

    I was discussing with a colleague last night how long Kaita should leave it before he shows his face in Nigeria again. I'd probably take a holiday first.

    As for the point about Lagerback not bringing on Martins because he has already used all his subs - "Taiwo and his substitute left back got injured. add the substitution (Obasi) made at halftime that's 3" - well, I think he should have brought Martins on before the replacement full-back got injured.

    OK, so that would have meant Nigeria would have finished the game with three men but Lagerback did not know there would be another injury and surely you cannot decide against making an attacking subsitition because somebody might get injured. That is far too negative.

  • Comment number 38.

    DISCIPLINE

  • Comment number 39.

    Where is that lovely chap Dennis when you need some balanced comments on a Nigerian performance?
    Paul - your comments in the last paragraph perhaps indicate why you are a football journalist and not a football manager - being down player because of an idiotic action by one of your players is one thing - to risk going down to nine men by using all your substitutes so early might be considered asking for trouble. Nigeria were in the end beaten by a single goal - perhaps if they had done what you suggest and end up with 9 men then their goal difference might have taken a real hammering thus making the chances of qualifying even more precarious than they currently are.
    Perhaps you should stick to light-hearted food & footy related japery?

  • Comment number 40.

    Oops - I obviously mean Nigeria would have finished the game with nine players.

    nobby1966 - do you not think that with Nigeria losing and the Super Eagles' hopes of getting through the group hanging by a thread, the coach should have made an attacking substitution?

    The last sub that Lagerback made came after 77 minutes. Surely Martins should have been on by then?

    By the way, comment 31 is amazing!

  • Comment number 41.

    This is was the incident that lost nigeria the game a stupid red card when they were comfortbaly winning 1-0 nil then someone has to go in and make a stupid mistake that will cost his team the game. What on earth was kaita doing it went out for a thrown why on earth did he have to go lift his leg up in front of the ref just madness i say.

  • Comment number 42.

    I also fault the coach. Benching Martins is a big blunder by any coach of whatever standards. Yakubu for some time has not been in scoring form for Nigeria. Yet these coaches keep using him to execute their game plans which always turn out to be failure. Martins qualified Nigeria for South Africa but for reason best known to Largerback, he keeps him off the pitch. I still believe a good coach would have changed his game plan immediately yesterday as the Greek coach did. Surprisingly Nigerian technical bench lacked what it takes to be one man down and defend their one goal advantage against one of the weakest teams on earth.

  • Comment number 43.

    #33 Spot on mate!

    We have FIFA going on about how they want to clean up the game, so we see Yellow & Red cards handed out willy-nilly for all sorts of 'tackles'...but they still do nothing about the real cheats who dive and roll about as if they've just been shot by a sniper in row Z!

    Look at the Germany-Serbia game! If a German player so much as looked at a Serb player in a funny way, the Serb player would be on the floor rolling about (ok, maybe a bit of an exagerration but you get my point)

    So far we have FIFA 'protecting' all the so-called 'talented' players from all these brutish tackles, yet these same 'talented' players are mainly the same ones who dive and roll about all the time.

    Football just doesn't seem like a real sport anymore...I'll get me coat...

  • Comment number 44.

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE REFEREE SENDING KAITA OFF THE PITCH. THIS SHOULD BE A LESSON TO ALL NIGERIAN PLAYERS: VIOLENCE WILL NOT WIN YOU A WORLD CUP YOU NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR FOOTBALLING SKILLS AND LEARN ABOUT FAIR PLAY IF YOU WANT A CHANCE TO PROGRESS IN THE WORLD CUP

  • Comment number 45.

    By the way I think that now that Germany has lost to Serbia it will greatly improve the chances for Ghana to progress even to the finals. I'm sure the Ghanian players won't let their country down and they will impress all the world with their quality performances. Perhaps Nigerian players should learn from the Ghanian how to behave themselves and how to win a World Cup game especially when there is so much at stake.

  • Comment number 46.

    It takes 4 years to prepare for the world cup contest. How did Nigeria think that one month was enough to get ready for the contest? The foreign coach hired by Nigeria only started his job in May and had only 2 weeks to prepare the players for the June world cup. Even though the individual Nigerian players are excellent materials but there was not enough time to organize them as a team. Why did Nigeria not seek the local talents like Okocha, Oliseh, Kalu Nwankwo etc as coaches and managers? The lesson for Nigeria is simple: If Nigeria wants to participate in the world cup contest, it must have the coaches and football managers working for 4 years in advance because it takes about 4 years to prepare for this game.

  • Comment number 47.

    Paul,

    sorry to be stubborn and debating your 'positive' opinion about bringing on Martins but I agree with nobby1966.

    anybody who has ever coached a team playing for their lifes with 10 man for an hour will keep at least one man on the bench at least until the last 20 minutes. just because anything can happen to anybody - injury, cramp or kick. playing with 9 man is far more dangerous...

    btw: @31: +1 :-)

  • Comment number 48.

    Nigerians are just clowns.....We call for talents & wish for more Okocha's,Amokachi's & Finidi's yet the best they could achieve was a second round at the world cup & an Olympic medal when they were obviously playing with kids!!!!!In truth i have never been impressed with our ball play as we tend to over-hype & overrate whatever we do...I think this world cup will reveal a lot about overrated teams...NIGERIA,ENGLAND,SPAIN,FRANCE,GREECE will be on their way home after the first round...

  • Comment number 49.

    The Greek player should also have been yellow carded for his play acting that he had been hit in the face. He should be ashamed of himself.

    Furthermore, there have been far too many cards in this tournament...including red.

    Yes, what the Nigeria player did was wrong, but he barely tocuhed him and the referee's have to start using some commonsense and discretion. it deserved a yellow and a harsh talking to.

    This world cup is getting like ther NBA....with card happy refs influencing the game too much.

  • Comment number 50.


    Red card or green card who cares? I think Nigeria lost this game from the bench. Nigeria coach with the huge amount of money he is being paid could not do his job when required. As as Keita was given his marching orders, a compitent coach would have re-acted immediatley by bring in a defencive midfielder to help his team. I don't think Amodu would have been as naive as this lagerback of a coach. At the end of the game in order to keep his job, he could only mutter ' i'm proud of my players'. Mr lagerback you can only fool yourself and not Nigerians.

  • Comment number 51.

    i fell in luv with the Green Eagles in 1980 and am still drunk, but its saddening when a team like that is not performing.I was talking to a Ugadan about the match and he was refering to the team as my team.These days players putting on the sacred GREEN.I am not really bothered about the achivement of the junior teams since they dont graduate to be Eagles.
    I have forgiven Kaita since he has apologised(we all loose our head atimes though)but I will always remember his KAITANESS.
    I thought Nigeria will build on the 2005 and 2008 juniour team but once again they fail to do that.
    Its sad that the true fans are voiceless when it come to deciding the team fate of the team.
    Hope they meet our expectations next time.

  • Comment number 52.

    You got to learn professionalism to be a professional player . Kaita had played lot of games and he should have known what is right or wrong for the game of soocer . What he did in that match was quite unprofessional. That wasn't even a good example for the younger players on the team . Now Nigeria is in problem of qualifying because of his actions .

  • Comment number 53.

    arisen10, please do not talk about Amodu. He technically naive and could not have performed within miles of what the current coach has been able to do in so short a time.

    With respect to the red card, I think it was too harsh. More so if you take into consdieration the antics of the Greek player involved. For some unknow reasons, FIFA wants the referees to dish out the cards but that will not improve the game but only make play-acting the order of the day. What Kaita did was bad but should have attracted a yellow card and verbal warning. Deciding the course of a game based on an issue like this is demoralising and not good for the game. Consider this in light of FIFA's ruling that Argies goal against Nigeria sshould not have been allowed.

  • Comment number 54.

    You have to learn professionalism to be a professional player . What Kaita did in that match was quite unprofessional . He had played alot of games and should have known what is right and wrong for the game of soccer . He didn't set a good example at all for the younger players on the super eagle team , after all , he supposed to be the one setting good examples for them . Now his negative actions has given Nigeria a problem and a great challenge to qyalify for the knockout stage .

  • Comment number 55.

    Kaita has made a name for himself. A new word has been coined out of his name by Nigerians, kaitastrophic. Some Nigerians have even gone as far as saying that his violent conduct explains the fact that he is from the predominantly Moslem north known for violence. The man, Kaita, brought grief and disappointment to the whole nation even to non-Nigerians who are, nevertheless, supporters of Nigerian football.

    An African team will win this world cup. No, now it is, an African team will get to the semi-finals. We have seen through Kaita that it is not possible. My British friend has frequently reminded me that it will not be possible unless African teams learn how to be disciplined. We remember what the Cameroonian player did when his injured colleague was supposed to get some medical attention in Ghana 2008; We cannot forget so soon what transpired in Angola in the match between Egypt and Algerian where many incidents of gross indiscipline was manifested.

    Having said that, the NFF should never be exonerated of any blame. Why would they get a coach a few days to the world cup? Yes, I say a few days considering how long Domenech, Capello, even the Greek coach, and others have been with their respective countries. Why would they (the NFF) allow inclusion of Yakubu and Yobo who have passed their prime and Nwankwo who has not kicked a ball but who has been included perhaps for some useless sympathetic reasons.

    Nigerians should continue to delude themselves. No second round for the team. Let the team come home; let them be disbanded; let Sani Lulu, the NFF chairman, lose his reelection because under him Nigerian football has seen nothing but decay. Nigeria, please, say goodbye to South Africa. See you in 2014 in Brazil, should you qualify.

  • Comment number 56.

    .. one thing that the greek team lacked .. till the 33rd minute of the game with Nigeria .. was confidence .. they forgot ..

    .. to do in the field .. only what they are the best at .. never to try to emulate .. other players .. Messi's Rooney's or whatever .. these might be .. that's as if one tries to learn at the most inappropriate time new skills, new ways of handling the ball, new ways of dealing with each and every state a game takes, the countless such states, an impossible task .. with the high costs it entails .. of loosing touch with the flow of the game .. to impair one's and one's team contribution to such a flow .. to reduce one's status to the state of spectator .. to a flow of the game dictated by the opponent team and their players ..

    .. the job of each player and that of the team .. is to score goals .. and this can only be done .. if and only if the players rely upon .. their very own skills .. what they know and do best ..

    .. that's how confidence is build .. that's what creativity requires .. that's what adds and assumes for a team .. the control of the flow of the game ..

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Will somebody comment on the fact that the Nigerian goal was pure luck as was the first of Greece. Will someone comment on the fact that Nigeria shots where one third of the shots the Greek did? Are you really not seeing the fact that. Nigeria looked like a bunch of construction workers playing football at lunch break? Many where overweight, and to turn 90 degrees looked like ship wreck! But yeah let's blame the red card (a well deserved red card) for loosing. You where bound to loose and it was just luck you scored first.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    Oh, had my comment removed, so I'll re-phrase it very politely:

    I believe Nigeria were poor and do not merit going any further. They were well beaten by a better organised team.

    I also believe Torosidis should've been red-carded as well. There is no apology for Keita's reaction, but it is also a fact that Torosidis pushed him first and then overreacted hysterically. It is well within rules to show a straight red for such behaviour. Either both of the players should had been sent off, or, in case of leniency, both should had been booked. Punishing only Keita was, as matter of fact and according to rules, an incorrect decision.

    It is my personal belief, as well, that Torosidis was fully aware that the referee would not see him provoking Keita, and that he used this occasion to provoke the player. And I believe, based on dozens of occasions on which I have watched the Greek national team, Greek players, or Greek clubs play, that this behaviour (i.e. provoking opposing players and trying to portray their eventual response in the worst possible light) is so ingrained in Greek football that it has, in fact, become a part of the Greek national team's "tactic". I therefore hold it against the referee that he seemed to be unaware of this tactic and let Torosidis escape. Referees should know the specific styles of the teams they are about to judge.

    I leave it to any given viewer to make his opinion of the Greek play. I know whom I do not want to see in the latter stages of this World Cup. Some may find my preference odd, and I believe they are fully entitled to their opinion. I would only ask them, how bad would they feel, had both Torosidis and Keita been shown a red card. Would that do any harm to the game of football?

  • Comment number 61.

    I feel Nigeria has been a victim of "unfortunate" officiating in this world cup. Against Argentina, Nigeria lost due to a goal that was later adjudged as wrong by FIFA (http://thenationonlineng.net/web2/articles/50019/1/Argentinas-goal-should-have-been-disallowed-says-FIFA/Page1.html).
    Next, against Greece, Nigeria also lost due to the referee's ignorance of an expensive simulation by a Greek actor. Though the given red card could be right but such lope-sided punishment only encourages Henry-like deceits in future. Wonder when FIFA will start using video evidence to enforce fair play in football.

  • Comment number 62.

    You all know from some of my previous comments on this medium that I have never being a fan/supporter of the Nigerian Super Eagles; I was therefore not surprised on the match result. The noise about SANI KAITA and the red card issue, when he was on the pitch of play what was his contribution to the team? So why did his elimination from the team affected his colleague and their game so much as if he was a good player? Even if we employ the services of Mourinho (the self-acclaimed special one) am sure the same set of lackadaisical players we have will still play the way they did. The crops of player we have are all bunch of lazy, sluggish and inexperience individuals. They lack commitment for their father land, they play as if there is nothing at stake, and their interest is in the money and fame that comes with the game. SANI KAITA shouldn’t be singled out for the blame; I think the whole team is to be blamed. In any case, I don’t want to ever see any of this set of players (excluding Enyeama) in the colours of Nigeria again. I am determined to use the entire medium available to fight my course.

  • Comment number 63.

    Watching the game live, it looked certain that Nigeria would take the 3 points against Greece, when Kaita pulled off his karate kid stunt following a red card next, I could not wink my eyes for a minute sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee in my hands.

    The next word that came out of my mouth after the shock was WHY? Was he some how possessed by some force? or slept on the wrong side of bed that day? .....

    This is the big question that Kaita has declined to answer till today as to why his action, all he gave was an apology. But an apology alone does not seem enough of course without a reason as to why his unprofessional action was done which summed up to Nigeria loosing that crucial game.

    I thought that players are trained in clubs and National teams physiologically to avoid such behaviours that make them do ridiculous things like Kaita did.

    What is wrong with some football players of our present time?

    P.s I love comments on the word "Kaita" put up as an official used word in sentences.

  • Comment number 64.

    A rephrase to a word typo error....


    I thought that players are trained in clubs and National teams "psychologically" to avoid such behaviours that make them do ridiculous things like Kaita did

  • Comment number 65.

    All said!!! Nice comments...Though football started in Greece but i thinking its by accident now..Really baffled me that loads of my friends from Greece thought they played well & deserve to win. I reckon that playing a second string Argentina in their 3third match would be like playing Brazil in Maracana Stadium with Eight8 men...HEHEHE...I cant wait for that match...Though i dont expect my overrated Nigeria to win either, nonetheless, its gonna be interesting...Remember me flesher on my comment on overrated England,Spain,Greece & Nigeria..I'll remind you again when we are all out of the world cup after the first round....I love this game init.

  • Comment number 66.

    All said!!! Nice comments...Though football started in Greece but i am thinking its by accident now..Really baffled me that loads of my friends from Greece thought they played well & deserve to win. I reckon that playing a second string Argentina in their 3third match would be like playing Brazil in Maracana Stadium with Eight8 men...HEHEHE...I cant wait for that match...Though i dont expect my overrated Nigeria to win either, nonetheless, its gonna be interesting...Remember me flesher on my comment on overrated England,Spain,Greece & Nigeria..I'll remind you again when we are all out of the world cup after the first round....I love this game init.

  • Comment number 67.

    I am a proud Nigerian but I was happy Greece won against Nigeria. Also even if Kaita had not been sent off, Nigeria looked liek they where have a party instaed of going on to kill off teh game with more goals. Also I think it's disrespecful to the Greece team to think they will not mount a challenge. I was also happy that in this life what goes around always comes around. The Nigeria Football Association and most Nigerians have thsi INFERIORITY COMPLEX that needs to be totally eradicated. A Nigerian coach Shaibu Amodu qualified Nigeria for teh world cup and came third in the just concluded ANC, but was moved aside for Lar Lagerbeer(Lagerback) a man who failed to qualify his own Nation Sweden. Now tell me how can you change a team boss 4 months to the world cup? it amazes me many Nigerians discount history. The same Shaibu Amodu took over the Nigerian team in 2001 when we where 5 points adrift and looked like our world cup dream was over after another European left after a clash with our then incompetent NFA and still incompetent NFF. Nigeria won all their games and we qualified for WC 2002. He same third in teh ANC 2002 and then ws fired. Well we all know how badly Nigeria played at WC2002 and for the first time we never qualified from our group.

    So I hope South Korea put the finl nail in Nigeria's coffin. What many non-Nigerians must understand is that coruption and greed is what fuels most Nigerian activities and sadly many Europeans and Asians come to Nigeria to collude with Nigerians to sabotage the country all because of money. So I had mixed emotions but now I am very happy.

    Nigeria should be coached by a Nigerian.

  • Comment number 68.

    @39 Nobby1966
    I did not say Nigeria was going to win the world cup, but should not be written off as being bad while England is thought to be a very good team by Piers Edwards. The Nigerian players are average or as bad as the English players, except for Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
    Kaita's action demonstrates everything wrong with Nigeria. He comes from the part of Nigeria (North) where people are slow in reasoning and violent in reacting to events. So I am not surprised by his action. He deserves a red card and deserves to be bound from any international match. He is Nigeria's Beckham of 1998 World Cup and Rooney, with his moment of madness.
    I also question Lars Lagerback's competence. Why take Kanu to the world cup when he knows he will never play Kanu, while leaving young players like Victor Anechebe of Everton?
    It also shows that the coach is not good enough because some coaches can change formation and still win with 10 men againts 11. I think the team should be disbanded, bar Enyeama, while Siasia is appointed as the new coach to build a new team.
    They deserve what they got.
    FIFA and CAF should allow Nigeria present at least 2 to 3 teams at international football tournaments like the World Cup and African Nations Cup. Just like the United Kingdom is allowed to present 4 teams of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
    I make this assertion above, because of the history of Nigeria and the knowledge that the country is made of different nations. Let the West of Nigeria present their national team, the East and the Niger Delta present their national team and the North present their own national team where the likes of Sani Kaita would fit in to play and kick people, than disgrace the South of Nigeria. Only then will the different Nigerian national teams do well.
    But for the team as it is now, where the likes of kaita are favoured by quota system rather than merit to make the national team, will only mean more failure.
    What do you guys think?

  • Comment number 69.


    No matter what anyone says, I still strongly maintained that LAGERBACK cost us the match period!
    Even a school pupil who watches football knew that when you are leading in a match and have a player sent off, the only thing a person with common sense will do is to make a change immediately.

    Let us not kill Kieta, Its football anything can happen. But Lets pay a close attention to a coach who receives our tax payers' money which they laloured for - N40,000.000. Yes N40 million naira a month. Yet he could not do his job.

    Amodu was paid N2million naira a month because he was a nigerian. He qualified us for the world cup without losing a competitive match until the semis at the nations cup. Lagerback in the other hand has not even won competetive game and choses friendly against Saudi and colombia teams that are not even in the world.

    If not for our goal keeper against argentina, it would have been a different story altogether. We deserve what we are gething. One good turn deserves another. How can Baboon work and Monkxxx who has never taken his native country Sweden past second round in any major tournament come to chop. South Korea please finish us up!

  • Comment number 70.

    The couch Lagerback is not the source, The real fault comes from the governing bodies of football in Nigeria who invited Lagerback to coach a team with very little time (this is not new news to any one). You would not ask a person to prepare for any advanced examination in less than 1 month and expect him to get A's, would you?

    Once again the governing bodies, authorities, governments of Nigeria show themselves as an example of how they too are never organised or disciplined with their decisions but yet expect a couch to train, organise and discipline the Nigerian team with little time. Who here in this picture are the ones to show a better example?

  • Comment number 71.

    Kaita should never play for Nigeria again the man is a complete and utter fool, what did the Greek player actually do apart from hold onto the ball. Nigeria would have beaten the Greeks had they 11 men on the field, however as the Aussies have shown you can still attack with 10 men as they di against Ghana.

    Looking at all the African teams I just have to shake my head in disappointment as i fear none will get out nof the group!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Aparts from the goal by Argentina against Nigeria, the refs decisions have been reasonably fair to African teams. What is African excuse now. First time in history for an African team to be awarded penalty in 2 consecutive matches as we saw in Ghana win against Serbia and their draw against Australia.

    So Africa has no excuse. CAF should insist of the football federations doing more to help football progress by pushing for good planning for their football programme and try to encourage teams to use African coaches. African coaches would play attacking football which suits African skill and style (4-2-4) while European coaches (except Dutch coaches) play 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. Europeans coaches are too defensive and that is why they rely on using African footballers who play in the premiership with their defensive style and less footballing sense and skill (like Etuhu) and as we can see from the conversion of a skillful attack minded Mikel Obi to a rough playing defence minded Mikel Obi (by the premiership) If Mikel had gone to Spain to play, his style would have been diferent and his football improved.

  • Comment number 73.

    Are you all blind?? Torosidis is not holding his face trying to con the ref that he has been hit in the face. Throughout the coverage of the incident he is holding his leg that Kaita attempted to cut off with his Ninja kick. Watch things carefully people.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ Dennis,

    Kaita was part of the U20 SILVER winning squad (05) and also olympic (08)Silver winning team. I doubt if u remember he was a northerner then!!Pls check the current Castrol index ranking, Kaita is the 2nd rated player, after Enyeama in the Nig squad. Always, u are either been racially (piers edwards blog) or ethno discriminating(Kaita). Ur lots are killing the country.

  • Comment number 75.

    9. At 02:42am on 18 Jun 2010, OilSlick wrote:

    """Well, if you see the replay, the Greek player first bumped the ball into Kaita's chest / stomach, before Kaita lashed out. Am not saying that he shouldn't have gotten a red, but the provocation was not just verbal, it was physical."""

    WRONG! The only phycial contact between Torosidis and Keita was the hard foul of Keita on Torosidis. Torosidis only did a typical gesture with the ball and this was far from Keita's chest. Neither Keita physically kicked Torosidis.

    STOP saying whatever...please...

    Re73: Hehehehe... 9. At 02:42am on 18 Jun 2010, OilSlick wrote:

    """Are you all blind?? Torosidis is not holding his face trying to con the ref that he has been hit in the face. Throughout the coverage of the incident he is holding his leg that Kaita attempted to cut off with his Ninja kick. Watch things carefully people."""

    Hehehe... a bit like this...

    I am amazed at how much people are prepared to lie when they do not like a team. Even a week after the game remember the exact sequence:

    1) Torosidis runs with the ball
    2) Keita comes from behind and kicks Torosidis in the leg quite hard
    3) The referee whistles foul
    4) An enervated Torosidis takes the ball and holding it with two hands makes a gesture - a small thrust towards the orientation of Keita - who is approaching (it was like Torosidis gesturing to him "whadda ya want? get lost...")
    5) Keita is both offended as well as knows he harashed repeatedly Torosidis and in this point he did it quite hard, he instinctively thinks that Torosidis is going to physically hit him with the ball so 100% instinctively lifts his foot to kick Torosidis. However there was no physical hit either on Torosidis.
    6) The referee saw the offensive move of Keita and feeling he loses the control of this powerful match he instantly gave the red card on him

    I am Greek and I admit it was quite a harsh decision on Keita, a yellow card sufficed, but it was the turning point of the game - still countries in WC are expected to overcome even a red card so it tells little things at the end. I guess offensive moves even if they are physical hits are not anymore tolerated and I think it is for the better. Torosidis' gesture with the ball though not gentle is generally perceived as less offensive and would not had been punished by any referee.

    This was just a typical phase of hard marking by Keita on Torosidis. There was no other physical contact other tha the hard foul of Keita on Torosidis.

    Torosidis DID NOT play theater and DID NOT pre-plan his action.

    Torosidis' gesture was as much instictive as Keita's action, only that Keita's action lifting his foot to kick was perceived as intolerable by the referee who kicked him out.

    ------------------------------

    I guess Greece gets the prize of the most badly covered by journalists team and the most unfairly accused team by "neutral" fans in this WC. People simply said whatever...

    I only need to remember the French journalists in the description of Greece - Argentine who accused Otto Rehagel of replacing defense/centre players with defensive/center players killing the game... all that when:

    1) Replacements occured in the 46th and 50th minute of the game!!!!
    1) Karagounis* was hit and was walking in pain, Torosidis was hit hard and went out!!!!
    2) Both replacements were done in the beginning of the 2nd half when players played absolutely well upon the plan and they had a negative effect in the Greek defense...

    * Did you know that Maradona went to apologise for swearing at Karagounis (he knew well that his players hit him more hard than his shou-shou Messi was ever hit by the Greek defenders)....

    ...whatever... for the "neutral" fan of course it was all about Greeks kicking Argentinians in their effort to kill the game... just like it was Greeks playing theater to cause Keita get a red card...

    ... really whatever. Get serious! Stop drinking beer and eating pizzas and chips and watch the game for a change. If Greece's game is not up to your taste there are tons of other matches to watch. None obliged you to follow them! But stop criticising based on pre-occupations and false imaginations. If you do not remember go see the phase again.

  • Comment number 76.

    Very unfortunate incident. http://ukschoolsdirectory.net

 

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