Samson Siasia has addressed the lingering problem between him and the controversial Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung over his embarrassing treatment of the team before Rio.
Coach Samson Siasia and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung
Coach of the U-23 Football Team that won Bronze in the just concluded 2016 Rio Olympics has said he still does not understand the whole drama involving the team and the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung.
Dalung and Siasia have not been in good terms after the former publicly denied knowledge of the team’s whereabouts and ridiculed coaches that they could be engaged in human trafficking. The embarrassing drama left the team stranded in Atlanta before they were rescued by an airline few hours to its opening game against Japan.
“As we speak, I don’t know what I have done to offend the Minister. The whole thing is surprising”, Sia One, as he is fondly called said.
The coach however added that it was funny that when he met the Minister one on one after a string of good results, the man did not recognize him, Vanguard reported.
“It’s funny. When he came, he shook hands with us and after shaking the players, he asked where is the coach?. Everybody started laughing. We shook hands again and hugged”, Siasia said.
Siasia noted that his team could have done better if the environment before the Games was conducive for them.
Siasia said: “The environment before the Games was not good but we resolved to weather the storm. The players gave their best. Without necessarily singling out players, Mikel was outstanding. He not only played well, he also motivated the squad with his leadership qualities. Also, Injury did not allow us to use some other good players. Anyway, we’re grateful to win something for Nigerians who showed massive support to us”.
With the bronze medal, Nigeria has now won gold, silver and bronze from the Men’s football event of the Olympics. They won gold in 1996 and picked silver eight years ago, also under Samson Siasia.