The proposed friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Argentina would no longer take place.
This is as a result of the backlash that trailed Lionel Messi’s failure to appear for his club Inter Miami in Hong Kong.
Messi was the major attraction for an exhibition match between Inter Miami and a Hong Kong XI but the Argentina captain did not play a single minute of the match last week, leaving thousands of fans disappointed and angry.
Argentina were scheduled to play Nigeria in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in March before facing Cote d’Ivoire in Beijing, but Messi’s failure to play for Inter Miami in Hong Kong on Sunday caused widespread anger among fans.
The organisers of the Hong Kong match said they would give fans a 50% refund for tickets after the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner did not take the field during their 4-1 win against Hong Kong All-Stars due to injury, but played in Japan days later.
The blowback grew with Hangzhou sports authorities announcing that the friendly would no longer take place.
In a statement, Hangzhou authorities, said: “As a commercial event, a company and the Argentinian soccer team negotiated that the team would play a friendly match in March this year in the city of Hangzhou.”
“In view of the current well-known reasons, according to the competent authorities, conditions to hold the friendly match are not mature, therefore (we) have decided to cancel it.”
Nigeria and Argentina have been involved in several friendlies and have met at the 1994, 2002, 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups.