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.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.