Argentina, Nigeria to play under a cloud

AFP, Wednesday 8 Jun 2011

Bangladesh's football chief said Wednesday a September friendly between Argentina and Nigeria would boost the sport in the country—despite both being at the centre of a match-fixing investigation

Lionel Messi
Argentina's striker Lionel Messi vies with Nigeria's midfielder Sani Kaita (14) and Nigeria's midfielder Lukman Haruna during Group B first round 2010 World Cup (Photo: AFP)

The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has signed a deal to bring Argentina and Nigeria with their full strength squads to Dhaka on September 6.

"Our $4 million contract with both sides says the Argentina team must include Messi," he said, referring to the Barcelona attacker and world player of the year.

"The sight of Messi playing on our soil will be the best thing to have happened to Bangladesh football in many years. It will prompt a lot of boys to play football," he predicted.

English newspaper The Guardian said Wednesday that the world soccer body FIFA was probing heavy betting on a late goal being scored in last week's game in Abuja where Nigeria took on an under-strength Argentina.

Nigeria won the match in the Nigerian capital 4-1, but Argentina scored from a dubious penalty in the eighth minute of injury time.

The match in Dhaka "is a FIFA-approved international friendly. It's not like the Abuja match in which Nigeria took on an Argentina B side," Salauddin said, referring to a match last week.

"It will be a competitive game with no chance of any betting or fixing," he said, adding that suggestions the match might be fixed were "rubbish".

The Bangladesh game has been organised by India-based firm Celebrity Management Group, who have also set up a match between Argentina and Venezuela in Kolkata on 2 September.

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