Blatter warns Nigeria

DISGRACED: Sani Kaita is sent off against Greece. Pic. Unknown.
DISGRACED: Sani Kaita is sent off against Greece. Pic. Unknown.

ABUJA, Nigeria - Fifa president Sepp Blatter has warned that the world football controlling body will not tolerate government interference in football.

His statement followed news that Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan had suspended the national football team from international competition for two years after its poor showing at the World Cup.

Blatter said yesterday: "Political interference will be dealt with by Fifa notwithstanding what kind of interference and what is the size of the country." Nigeria risks being banned from all international football.

Ima Niboro, a government spokesperson, said the ban would enable the country to reorganise its football administration. He said funding of the squad, including the hiring of former Sweden coach Lars Lagerback, would be investigated.

Nigeria went out with just one point after being held to a 2-2 draw by South Korea in their last game. They lost to Argentina 1-0 in their Group B opener and fell to Greece 2-1 in a game turned by the first-half expulsion of midfielder Sani Kaita.

The Nigerian Football Federation's executive committee had earlier tendered an apology for the early exit.

The Super Eagles haven't won a World Cup match since 1998, going out with two losses and a draw in 2002 and failing to qualify in 2006.

Their next scheduled international game is a qualifier for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, at home to Madagascar in September. - Sapa-AP