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Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 19:04 UK

World Cup 2010: Nigeria's Sani Kaita sorry for red card

Nigerian footballer Sani Kaita

Sani Kaita broke down in tears as he apologised to the nation after his red card against Greece in the game which Nigeria lost 2-1 on Thursday at the World Cup.

Nigeria, who like Greece had lost their opening match in South Africa, had taken an early lead after Kalu Uche's free kick.

The Super Eagles had a firm grip on the game until Kaita kicked out at Greek defender Vasileios Torosidis after they clashed as the two men tried to win the ball.

Kaita's sending off changed the game as Greece came back from a goal down to win 2-1.

A clearly devastated Kaita was overcome with emotion as he met the media after the game, speaking only briefly before being led away sympathetically by teammates Obinna Nsofor.

He said: "I just want to say sorry to all the fans. I feel as if I have let millions of people down.

"I should not have done that, act silly at that point or get carried away easily."

Kaita added: "The other players were left to bear the cost of my stupid mistake on the pitch. They have supported me so far, but all I can offer now is a heartfelt and sincere apology to the country."

Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo backed his team-mate as he said: "He is a young footballer who will learn from mistakes like this.

He is a young footballer who will learn from mistakes like this.

Nigeria's captain Joseph Yobo

"He's been a solid performer for this team in recent years. It was a mistake, an expensive one but we only have to fight now for what is left to salvage here."

And goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who once again emerged as the man of the match, said: "Kaita is still a reliable player and should not be left to suffer from this.

"Stuff like that happen sometimes. If you saw him in training and watched him in the World Cup you would see why I still think he should be forgiven."

Nigeria's Kalu Uche, who got his country in front also said: "We all felt let down on the pitch but once we walked off it, he was in our thoughts.

"No-one is blaming him for anything. He has been a magnificent player for his country and his die-hard performances have earned us success in the past, he will return a better man."

Nigerian media and fans on Friday slammed Kaita for a moment of madness that saw him red-carded during the 2-1 loss to Greece.

His act has been described as 'inexplicable' while all the major newspapers ran headlines criticising him for letting the West African country down.

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see also
Africa's World Cup sides criticised
18 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Nigeria coach proud despite loss
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Etuhu rues inadequate preparation
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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