Football / World Cup USA '94: Nigerians 'very upset' over asylum report

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE NIGERIAN team are 'extremely upset' over reports that nine of them plan to seek political asylum in the United States. According to a Boston newspaper, the nine, who were unnamed, will wait until the tournament ends on 17 July before making a move.

'We are deeply embarrassed and the players are extremely upset about this,' Augustine Mbolu, the team's press officer, said. Nigeria's government had been informed of the bogus report and had demanded a retraction. Nigeria has a great passion for football and only there are all 52 of the World Cup's games being televised live.

All of Nigeria's 22 players are on lucrative contracts with foreign clubs and already live abroad. At home they are heroes and defection would be a deep blow to national pride. 'These players are all on million-dollar contracts, most of them with European clubs,' Mbolu said. 'What would they do in America? Somebody is trying to get at the team. I would like to know who.'

The 90,000 square feet of Kentucky grass which has been used for the turf at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, has to be removed by Friday so that workers can prepare for a convention of 50,000 Jehovah's Witnesses on Sunday.

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