Kaita receives threats


JOHANNESBURG, June 21- Nigeria's Sani Kaita has received more than 1,000 death threats by email in the wake of his red card against Greece, it was revealed on Sunday.The 24-year-old midfielder was shown a red card in the 33rd minute of his side’s 2-1 defeat to Greece in Group B on Thursday and his email address was posted on the internet alongside the message: "This man must die".

Nigeria’s team spokesman Peterside Idah confirmed Kaita had already had ‘more than 1,000’ death threats via email.

"We take this issue very seriously. We have informed Nigeria’s government and football’s governing body FIFA," said Idah.

Idah said that Kaita’s team mates are "appalled" and the Nigerian appealed to the African nation’s fans to show some compassion.

"This is a young man who does his best to serve the team and his country," he said.

Kaita, who plays his club football for Russian side Alaniya, was surprisingly calm about the threats.

"I am not worried about it," said the defensive midfielder who won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when Nigeria finished runners-up.

"Only god decides who lives and who dies.

"Everybody has their own destiny on this earth.

"I am proud to be part of this team. I hope we can go further and that I will be available for the team again."

While security at the Nigeria team hotel in Durban has not been stepped up, Idah said the team are happy with the current arrangements.

"There are already a lot of security forces on the ground," he said.

"The arrangements by the world’s governing body FIFA have been thorough."

Kaita was sent off for a kick on Greece’s Vasileios Torosidis and is suspended for the last group game against South Korea on Tuesday .

Nigeria must win to keep alive their slim chances of progressing to the knock-out phase after losing their first two matches.

After his dismissal, Kaita apologised immediately.

"I apologise to everyone – the Nigerian people, the officials and my team-mates," he said.

He would not be the first player to receive death threats – Colombia’s Andres Escobar paid the ultimate price when he was shot dead shortly after returning from the 1994 finals where his own goal in the 2-1 defeat by the United States saw the hotly-fancied South Americans go out in the first round.