A proposed friendly match between Nigeria and Argentina scheduled for March has been cancelled, over “not mature” conditions due to the fallout from Lionel Messi’s absence from his club, Inter Miami, in Hong Kong, according to Chinese authorities.
Messi failed to participate in a match between his club Inter Miami and a Hong Kong all-star team last week.
In the aftermath, organizers in Hangzhou, China moved to call off the upcoming Nigeria vs Argentina friendly that had been planned. Authorities said that “conditions to hold the friendly match are not mature” at this time.
“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, authorities said in a statement.
“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.”
Messi’s no-show in Inter Miami’s trip to Hong Kong generated anger among fans who had purchased tickets expecting to see the football superstar play, causing organisers to painstakingly offer fans a 50% refund for tickets, but dissatisfaction persisted.
This disappointment extended to plans for Argentina’s upcoming matches against Nigeria in Hangzhou and Cote d’Ivoire in Beijing.
The cancellation ends hopes for the latest installment of the frequent friendlies between the Argentinian and Nigerian national teams. The two squads have also faced off memorably on the World Cup stage multiple times over the years.