Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has revealed that the federal government, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and some other stakeholders mostly within the sports circle abandoned him in the thick of the ban imposed on him by the world football governing body, FIFA.
Addressing newsmen for the first time after his life ban was reduced to five years by the Court of Arbitrary for Sports (CAS), Siasia expressed delight with the judgement, saying the federal government, NFF and even close friends abandoned him.
The two time U-23 national male football team handler however commended the Nigerian media, particularly Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), and others for standing with him.
He said: “Even my close friends abandoned me. Even the Legend Game organised by FIFA, I’m not being invited again. I don’t know what I did to them even when I wasn’t guilty of what I was accused of. This issue was supposed to be a government problem.
“When the life ban pronouncement was first declared by FIFA, I met with the Minister of Youth and Sports development who barely resumed office and briefed him, all the Minister could say is there’s no money.
“Is the president not watching or reading news? I have invested in human beings in this country by training lots of young players who are stars today.
“How will I fight FIFA? I don’t have that strength but the government can stand up and stand for me but everyone left me in the dark.
“I want to thank CAS for their judgement which has given me hope to return back to what I know how best to do. I’m happy I’m gradually out of the hook because in a couple of years I will go back to what I know how best to do.”
On whether he was ready to appeal CAS judgement, Siasia said, “I will have to meet with my lawyers and think what to do in the next couple of days… If I’m going to appeal, we have to be sure of what will come out of it. I don’t want to think or talk about how much has been spent. If I have to appeal to CAS I’m going to cough out at least £100, 000 to pay.”
An associate of Siasia, Opukiri Jones-Ere, lashed NFF’s hierarchy for neglecting who he described as a legend in the country’s soccer history.
“It’s very unfortunate that not even a word came from NFF. It’s not just appalling but disappointing. If Nigeria football can’t come out to say anything, it’s rather regrettable. NFF has not come to say maybe there’s no money but we are behind you even when the current NFF president is from the same side of the country. Other African nations are watching.
“Instead, in the peak of the trial, even an official vehicle with Siasia was withdrawn from him.”