Bribe Scandal Rocks Nigeria’s Olympics Football Team

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By Jubril TAHIRU Barely two months to the Olympics games in Brazil the nation’s football team is enmeshed in an alleged bribe scandal involving players and the Coach, Mr. Samson Siasia. It was alleged that the coach must have collected money from players who are not fit to wear the nation’s colours in Brazil to the detriment of those who are seen to be in form to prosecute the Rio Olympics project. It is therefore disturbing that after winning several medals in football events for Nigeria both at the age group levels, the Olympics and the senior national team, Samson Siasia popularly regarded in the media circle as the world Cup coach, is now in the eyes of the storm over the alleged bribe. Siasia loved by many and tipped to be the next national team coach following the unceremonious exist of Sunday Oliseh has again begin to go the way of his predecessors. With barely 48 days to the Rio Olympics, Siasia surprised not only his critics but his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation NFF by releasing the names of 35 players he intended to use to prosecute the Rio Olympics Football event. To many discerning minds, especially the Nigeria Football Federation NFF technical committee, headed by Barrister Chris Green, Siasia’s 35 man list did not pass through their screening before getting the approval of the NFF egg heads, for the new list that he is taking to the Olympic. In an Olympics events that Nigeria who won bronze medal at the last Olympics are looking forward to winning a gold medal in Rio, Siasia was accused by the NFF technical committee of dropping top footballers who would make Nigeria proud and instead brought in his cronies who he was alleged to have collected monies from them to put them in the national team. This is not the first time the issue of Samson Siasia and other former national coaches cases of allegations of bribery has come to the fore, but Coach Samson Siasia’s case has been a re-occurring decimal anytime he is called upon to handle a national assignment. The relationship between him and the sporting press has kept him going but on Tuesday last week, that relationship went sour following the reports of the technical committee of the NFF that he has allegedly droped players who would make the country proud at the expense of those who paid him to wear the national colours. According to a close source of the technical committee who spoke to nationalTrial in Abuja, the issue of the sacking of coach Samson Siasia was top of the agenda of their meeting after seeing the list of the 35 players he released for the Olympics project but what saved him was that Nigeria is yet to have a foreign coach and the Olympics games is barely two months away. Reports reaching nationalTrials is that win or lose at the Olympics, Siasia will again get the hammer of the Nigeria Football Federation and this may be his last romance with any of the national teams. But if one may ask, what again does Siasia need collecting money from players for on each occasion he has won these laurels for Nigeria, he was highly rewarded. Meanwhile, the Technical Committee of the NFF has granted him favour to travel to the United States of America on June 29th for a training camp where they will play friendlies with the United States and Mexico before moving to Rio for the Olympics. Though dissatisfied with the level of his preparedness, the Nigeria Football Federation has said they will give him all the necessary assistance to succeed but
U23 players in training
what is paramount now is that win or lose at the Olympics, that maybe the end of Samson Siasia with any of the national teams. As Nigerians await the outcome of the Football event at the Rio Olympics, Coach Samson Siasia indeed remains in the eyes of the storm. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation NFF has finally fixed the sixteen round of federation cup to hold on the 6th and 7th of July 2016 across some zones in the country. The fate of this year’s federation
cup was already hanging in the balance following the withdrawal of some major sponsors particularly, coca-cola who withdraw some years back. But the Federation cup executive secretary Emmanuel Adesanya has said all is now set for the round of sixteen to kick off in the six geographical zones as from the 6th and 7th of July. Meanwhile, pairing of the teams released from the competition department of the NFF shows that only one away team win qualified them for the Quarter finals.