No sympathy for grounded Eagles

LAGOS - Nigerians had little sympathy for their national soccer team and said yesterday that their two-year withdrawal from international competition was well-deserved punishment for their embarrassing showing at the World Cup.

LAGOS - Nigerians had little sympathy for their national soccer team and said yesterday that their two-year withdrawal from international competition was well-deserved punishment for their embarrassing showing at the World Cup.

On Wednesday, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan suspended the Super Eagles from all competitions for two years to allow for a rebuilding process, after they were knocked out in the first round of the World Cup without a win.

"It is a good thing that the government came out to intervene in football," said Benjamin Chidebere, a civil servant in Lagos.

"Football unites all Nigerians. If you are a Yoruba man, a Hausa man, an Ibo man, football makes us drink together."

The government instruction to withdraw could prompt sanctions from Fifa, which has taken a strong stand against political interference in the sport. - Reuters

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