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Nigeria canceled plans to play in the three-nation Kirin Cup 2003 soccer tournament in June because of concerns about SARS.

The Japan Football Association said Tuesday organizers must decide whether to pick a replacement for the African nation or cancel the event entirely. That decision was expected later Tuesday, said association spokesman Hideto Teshima.

Nigeria was chosen as a replacement for Portugal, which pulled out earlier this month due to the SARS scare.

Japan was to play Argentina on June 8 in Osaka and Nigeria on June 11 in Saitama.

Japan lost 2-0 to Argentina at Saitama in November.

Nervous about the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, soccer authorities have postponed or abandoned a series of international events in Asia, including Olympic qualifiers.

FIFA switched the women’s World Cup from China, which has recorded the majority of the more than 560 SARS deaths worldwide.

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