SAMSON Siasia, embittered coach of the bronze winning U-23 national football team at the Rio Olympics, said he has forgiven Solomon Dalung, sports minister, for calling him a ‘human trafficker’ because “he has apologised to me.” Siasia reportedly disclosed this during an interview with Osasu Obayiuwana, reporter of the BBC World Football, on Wednesday, August 31.
The BBC reporter disclosed that the Bayelsa-born gaffer said during the interview that he was disappointed by the ill-treatment of the U-23 team before and after winning the face-saving bronze medal for the country at the Games as well as the aspersion cast on Yatsuya Takasu, Japanese billionaire, who rescued the team when Nigerian billionaires who heard about their predicament turned deaf ears. Siasia said: “I was very surprised that he (Dalung) accused me of being a human trafficker. He has apologised to me for making that statement. The minister has made some mistakes and needs to be guided. But I have decided to let what he said go…”
On being owed five months wages by the Nigeria Football Federation, Siasia said: “If I had known that I will be in this situation, I would never have taken up this job. I have been relying on friends in order to survive. There is no excuse for my being owed five months wages… My son asks me, “Dad, how can you be working and they don’t pay you?”
On Katsuya Takasu’s gesture, he said: “This man came to our aid when we were in trouble. I must thank him. He is a wonderful human being. Where were our billionaires like Aliko Dangote, when they must have heard that the team was in trouble? The report written by the NFF’s Integrity Officer (Dr Christian Emeruwa) on Dr Takasu (which alludes that he could be associated with match-fixing) is nonsense. He should have done a better job of checking him out.”
And on his post-Olympic treatment, he was quoted as saying: “I am disappointed by how I and my team have been treated after being the only ones to bring a medal home for Nigeria. On getting back from Brazil, we were put up at Sheraton Hotel in Lagos for a night, after which everyone went their separate ways. No official ceremony, not even a handshake from the President. It was the same thing I experienced after winning the Silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. I don’t know whether it is my fate to be always treated this way.”
— Sep 12, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT