Bronze medal winning coach of the Nigerian Under-23 team Samson Siasia says he has no ill feelings against Sports Minister Solomon Dalung for labelling him a “Human trafficker” as he had apologised.
BBC World Football reporter, Osasu Obayiuwana revealed that he had an extensive interview with Siasia on Wednesday night for the BBC as they discussed on a number of issues, including the attack on him (Siasia).
On the accusation by Dalung that he trafficked the Under-23 team to Atlanta, Siasia said, “I was very surprised that he (Dalung) accused me of being a human trafficker. He has apologised to me for making that statement. The minister has made some mistakes and needs to be guided. But I have decided to let what he said go…”
Siasia said he is disappointed with the Nigeria Football Federation for owing him five months salary, “If I had known that I will be in this situation, I would never have taken up this job. I have been relying on friends, in order to survive. There is no excuse for my being owed five months wages… My son asks me, “Dad, how can you be working and they don’t pay you?”
Speaking on the financial assistance the team received from Japanese philanthropist Dr Takasu Katsuya, Siasia said he was shocked at the behaviour of the NFF.
“This man came to our aid when we were in trouble. I must thank him. He is a wonderful human being. Where were our billionaires, like Aliko Dangote, when they must have heard that the team were in trouble? The report written by the NFF’s Integrity Officer (Dr Christian Emeruwa) on Dr Takasu (which alludes that he could be associated with match-fixing) is nonsense. He should have done a better job of checking him out.”
Siasia also spoke on how the team was treated after they won Nigeria’s only medal in Rio.
“I am disappointed by how I and my team have been treated, after being the only ones to bring a medal home for Nigeria. On getting back from Brazil, we were put up at Sheraton Hotel in Lagos for a night, after which everyone went their separate ways. No official ceremony, not even a handshake from the President. It was the same thing I experienced after winning the Silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. I don’t know whether it is my fate to be always treated this way.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.