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Nigeria news

Nigeria step up security after threats

June 21, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Nigeria have tightened security around the national side ahead of Tuesday's crucial World Cup tie against South Korea after midfielder Sani Kaita was the target of death threats.

Sani Kaita trained with his team-mates on Monday
GettyImagesSani Kaita trained with his team-mates on Monday

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Kaita received more than a thousand death threats, many via email, after he was dismissed in a 2-1 defeat to Greece for kicking out at Vasileios Torosidis. Nigeria were 1-0 in front when the incident occurred.

The Super Eagles have now been assigned extra police officers to keep a close eye on the squad prior to Tuesday's game in Durban which will see Nigeria qualify for the second round if they beat South Korea and Greece lose to Argentina.

"We got some additional policemen in the hotel this morning," media officer Idah Peterside told KickOffNigeria.com. "I don't know how many exactly, but yes, it may be more than 30."

Additional security was also in evidence during a closed training session on Sunday and South African police have been asked to monitor the safety of Kaita.

"The liaison officer with the Nigerian team has been requested to pay a close attention to Mr. Kaita and to ensure that the stringent security measures already in place are sustained," police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said in a statement.

Coach Lars Lagerback said of Kaita's situation: "It's not a good thing. I think it's very sad that this situation comes out. But it's something that we have to handle and I think the players have handled it really well. I was also happy to see how the players supported Kaita in the team's meeting."

Kaita's behaviour has been picked up on by South Korea coach Huh Jung-Moo, who has ordered his players to attempt to provoke a similar reaction from one of his team-mates. Kaita is suspended for the game following his dismissal.

"As seen in the case of Sani Kaita, who was sent off the field, we need to put pressure on the Nigerians so that they become agitated and lose their temper," Huh said. "We cannot allow them to play freely on the field."

As Nigeria aim to secure the victory they need if they are to prolong their World Cup campaign, Super Eagles boss Lars Lagerback will be encouraged by the news that left-back Taye Taiwo has returned to training following a groin injury sustained in the defeat to Greece.

The Marseille defender has trained separately from his team-mates though, and remains a doubt for Tuesday's important tie.

"The coach will have to decide after the training on Monday," Peterside said. "He is making good progress and if the medical team clear him, then it is possible that the coach might decide to use him against Korea."