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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 12:19 GMT
Moyes denies Nigeria age insult
By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

David Moyes
Moyes' comments have sparked outrage in Nigeria
Everton manager David Moyes says that comments he made about Nigerian players have been misunderstood.

He questioned the true age of his striker Yakubu Ayegbeni and of Nigerian players in general.

The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has written to the English FA asking for Moyes to be sanctioned.

"What I said has been taken totally out of context. I have never before been accused of being a racist, that idea is totally abhorrent to me," said Moyes.

After Yakubu scored a hat-trick in Everton's Uefa Cup win over SK Brann on Thursday, Moyes told the Guardian newspaper:

"He's only 25, albeit a Nigerian 25, and so if that is his age he's still got a good few years ahead of him."

The comments caused outrage in Nigeria, but Moyes says he had no malicious intent.

"What I said was a light-hearted quip after Yakubu had scored a memorable hat-trick against Bergen," he said.

"It was certainly a comment which neither upset nor offended the player himself.

"Does anyone seriously believe that I would have made Yakubu the most expensive player in Everton's history if I had any concerns about his age?"

But NFA spokesman Ademola Olajire says the comments have embarrassed the country.

"His statement is insulting to the Nigerian nation and unbecoming of a Premier League manager," Olajire told BBC Sport.

"We don't take kindly to snide remarks about our players, or our nation and we have sent a strongly-worded complaint to the English FA.

"Seriously, we will go at any length to ensure he is brought to book to explain his comments."

Everton 6-1 SK Brann
21 Feb 08 |  Europe


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