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Siasia quits, says Nigerian Football system ‘disrespectful’


 Samson Siasia

Samson Siasia

Coach of the National U-23 team, Samson Siasia, says he is quitting the game in Nigeria because of what he describes as “a disrespectful system”.

Siasia coached the Dream Team to a bronze medal at the just concluded Rio Olympic Games. He is the most decorated African football coach at the Olympics having also won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008, is said to have gone unpaid for five months by his employers – the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

He says he has quit football in Nigeria after “a turbulent and incredible campaign in Brazil.”

“I have reached that point where I have to say I have had enough,” Siasia, whose contract expires at the end of the Olympics, told BBC Sport yesterday.

“I’ve gone several months without getting paid, 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 end up winning a bronze medal, the players, coaching and backroom staff never received a ‘thank you’ in appreciation despite a turbulent time at the Olympics” Sisasia added.

Before arriving in Rio, Nigeria’s ‘Dream Team VI’ were held up in Atlanta, USA, because of a problem with the payment for their flight, and they only landed in Brazil just hours before their opening 5-4 win over Japan.

Nigeria also had a troubled build-up to their quarterfinal against Denmark after the players boycotted a training session in a dispute over pay.

Amid all the problems that blighted their campaign, the team showed courage under adversity to clinch the country’s only medal at the Rio games.

“First we had the minister deride us for camping in Atlanta and even denied our existence as a group before the flight problems,” recalled Siasia.

“Players had to embark on a strike to be heard, then 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, not just in football, but our general lives.

“I have fulfilled my obligations as a citizen, footballer and coach; right now I do not want to be involved in the Nigerian football system anymore,” said Siasia.

The BBC has tried to contact the NFF and the sports ministry for comments on Siasia’s decision, but has not received a reply.

Nigeria, the 1996 Olympic football champions, are now the most successful African country in Olympic men’s football, and the first African country to complete an Olympic medal sweep having won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008.

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  • Apostel

    He is a good guy. You have a good name even abroad. Siasia, please go for some years to Europe for a nice football club, after you come back to Nigeria to train our national team.

  • Naijaman

    Find a smart SAN and sue the pants off NFF! That’s what you do to get your back pay and all your entitlements duly owed to you. We have ingrates running things in our Naija and that’s the reason we seem seated on our heads doing everything.

  • theoeke

    I’ve always questioned the sanity of those who agree to work for the NFF. If you’re from the East, you should understand that you’re at the mercies of the Hausa/Fulani and their Yoruba sidekicks. No matter your successes, they will find a way to diminish and minimize your accomplishments. It is unsettling for them to accept the fact that most successes registered in Nigeria’s football campaigns have been registered by coaches from the old Eastern Nigeria. I will suggest to the players from that region to boycott the Eagles camp for a year and lets see what they can do.

  • Frank Ojiako

    The Sports Minister was given a Vote of NO CONFIDENCE by the U-23 players during their Bronze metal match NOT TO COME NEAR THEIR DRESSING ROOM BEFORE & DURING THE MATCH. Did the FG read about that? He is a sacred cow but I bet you that would have been his sack by same FG is he came from another tribe in Nigeria. SIA-ONE History has vindicated you.The Records shows. Until we become a Nation by either Restructuring or Otherwise, U are a world class Coach ans would be sort after. Parochial leadership by Nepotism is the bane of our Nation building here. IGNORAMUS leads the EDUCATED and yet expect Progress…What a SELF DECEIT!