28 August 2016
Samson Siasia, who helped Nigeria to men’s football bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, says he no longer wants to have anything to do with the game in the country.
The Dream Team VI coach said in an interview that he no longer wanted to be involved in what he described as “a disrespectful system’’.
Siasia, who also won a silver medal at Beijing 2008, claimed that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had not paid him for five months.
He recalled that he and his players had “a turbulent and incredible campaign in Brazil’’ during the Olympics and he had now had enough.
“I have reached that point where I have to say I have had enough,” Siasia, whose contract expired with the end of the Olympics, said in the interview.
“I’ve gone several months without getting paid, and also years of being derided and disrespected by the sports authorities in Nigeria. But I am done already.
“It’s sad that after all we went through to get to Brazil and after we ended up winning a bronze medal, the players, as well as coaching and backroom staff, never received a `thank you’ message in appreciation.
“It was unimaginable that this could still happen in spite of the turbulent time we had at the Olympics,’’ the coach said.
He pointed at the embarrassment he and his team faced in the hands of the Youths and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, and said he had thought it all out.
“First we had the minister deriding us for camping in Atlanta, U.S. and he even denied our existence as a group. This was before the flight problems.
“Our players had to embark on a strike to be heard.
“But the boys kept a good spirit to win an incredible medal, only to be publicly criticised for speaking to the Japanese surgeon who supported and rewarded the team for their brave spirit
“I’ve taken a deep look at everything and concluded that things need to change for us to progress as a country, and this is not just in football but in our general lives.
“I have fulfilled my obligations as a citizen, footballer and coach. So, right now I do not want to be involved in the Nigerian football system anymore,’’ Siasia said.
All efforts to get the NFF to confirm Siasia’s resignation failed to yield any result.
Godfrey Gaiya, a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Sports blamed the leadership of the NFF for the resignation of U-23 coach.
Gaiya said Siasia’s action was an indication that the Amaju Pinnick-led board of the NFF could not manage the national teams.
“Siasia is not the first person to resign; Sunday Oliseh also resigned his appointment.
“Stephen Keshi also resigned and if you recall, my committee had to beg Keshi not to resign after winning the AFCON 2013; so, it is a very bad omen.
“It is disastrous and an indication that our football house cannot manage even the coaches of the national team because there is no coach that has an enabling environment to work that will want to resign.
“It is the system that has made Siasia to do what he has done; he has sacrificed for this nation several times and he led Nigeria to the only medal we won at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“For him to resign after winning that only medal tells you about the NFF and football administration and the insincerity of those in power,’’ Gaiya said.
The former House of Representatives member expressed regret at the attitude of NFF towards the plight of players and coaches in the country, noting that its leadership might have lost focus.
Gaiya wondered why the NFF should spend millions of naira to host the FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a five star hotel with its players and coaches living in penury.
“The no-money, no-money syndrome of the NFF tells you that there is no scale of preference in the football house.
“Usually, you start with the most important to the least important, but in Nigeria, the most important will not give the people the kick-back they desire; as such, the least important becomes most important because of the vested interest attached to it; I don’t believe that the NFF leadership knows what they are doing.
“I don’t see how we can host Infantino with all the people in his entourage in a five star hotel, yet our players are playing in penury.
“I see it as a misplacement of priority and somebody somewhere does not know what his duty is; it is condemnable and we cannot accept it,’’ he added.
Sunday Oliseh, a former Super Eagles Head Coach resigned his appointment after spending about six months on the job citing irreconcilable differences with the NFF.
Oliseh also attributed his decision to resign to lack of support and contract violations by the NFF which he claimed owed him few months’ salary.