Barely 10 days to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil, the Chief Coach of Nigeria’s U-23 Dream Team VI, Samson Siasia, has raised an alarm over his team’s ordeals to access funds.
Siasia and his team have been training in Atlanta, USA ahead of Nigeria’s participation in the men’s football event of the Olympics.
Though the Olympics begins officially on 5 August, Nigeria will play their first match of the Games against Japan on 4 August.
Siasia said Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) owes him and the coaches five months’ salary arrears, while no allowance has been paid to the team in the last five months.
According to Siasia, the coaches and the players have been training on ‘empty stomach’ in their Atlanta camp, as he and the boys have been abandoned in the USA.
“We are being owed backlog of allowances and wages in the last five months. No single kobo has been pay to the team as at today. I’m pleading with the NFF and the Ministry of Sports to pay us our salaries. They should pay us before the Olympics. We are suffering. No fund at all, even we have not received the tickets to go to Brazil from here.
“The team have suffered too much. There is no encouragement to show for our patriotism to the country,” lamented Siasia.
While the coach insists he wasn’t given the country an ultimatum or threatening to boycott the tournament, Siasia expressed disappointment with the treatment meted to the Nigeria U-23 team.
“We will not hold the country to ransom by threatening not to play our matches, but the government has to come to our rescue. I know that by the time the Olympics will be over, our monies will not be paid,” said Siasia who won the silver medal of the football event of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
The Olympic team are due to depart the USA for Brazil on Friday.