“There is nothing official. There is not an official death threat where we can panic,” team spokesman Idah Peterside said on the eve of their decisive Group B match against South Korea.
“In our language, when we say ‘We kill you’, it means ‘We’re not happy with you’.”
Peterside’s comments came just a day after he himself said that Kaita had already received “more than 1,000” death threats via email.
South African police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said earlier Monday: “It is alleged that Mr Kaita has received numerous death threats via e-mail and according to the team’s spokesperson these threats emanate from Nigeria.
“The team security liaison officer, with the Nigerian team has been requested to pay close attention to Kaita and to ensure that the stringent security measures already in place are sustained.”
De Beer said no case had been opened with police so far, but FIFA was also aware of the e-mail threats.
The 24-year-old midfielder received the threats after he received a red card in the 33rd minute of his side’s 2-1 defeat to Greece in their Group B match on Thursday, and his email address was posted on the Internet alongside the message: “This man must die.”
Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback said that death threats were “never a good thing”.
“It’s a very, very sad situation that’s come out,” the Swede said shortly before Peterside’s seemingly contradictory comments.
“It’s something we have to handle. The players are professionals used to
living under pressure.
“The players have handled it very well, and I was glad to see the players support Kaita.”
Nigeria face South Korea in Durban on Tuesday evening. The Super Eagles need to win with a good margin and hope that Argentina beat Greece in the other Group B match in Polokwane.