RIO OLYMPICS FOOTBALL
Nigeria’s quest to win tomorrow’s quater final match against Denmark has suffered a major set back as players threatened to boycott the match unless their outstanding allowances are paid in Brazil.
Reports on Thursday indicate that the team skipped training in Salvador to further butteress their stand against the authority.
The country was in similar situation at the last World Cup finals in Brazil two years ago when the Super Eagles players boycotted trainning session before the crucial second round match against France insisting on collecting their share of FIFA wind fall after qualification to play at the mundial.
The U-23 team arrived Salvador in good time yesterday but chose to skip training and now left with only today to perfect their match plan for tomorrow’s tie against Denmark at *pm Nigerian time.
The team are now ready to make history for the wrong reasons by staying away from the match against Denmark unless their remaining monies are paid.
According to AfricanFootball.com competent sources disclosed that “the players said that their level of patriotism has already dwindled because of the way they have been treated by the government officials prior to the Olympic Games.
“Now they said they won’t step out to train until the remaining balance of their training and camp allowances are paid.
“Not only that, they have threatened not to play the quarter-final against Denmark on Saturday until all the monies owed them are paid.
“As we speak now, the only money that the players have received was the $150 dollars per day for 11 days, while there are more than that 11 days still to be paid and no extra money was received for the matches played so far”, the source also disclosed.
The coach Samson Siasia-led team have already been overtaken by drama and controversies in the last few weeks, from the players stopping their coach from quitting his post to the team being stranded for several days at their training base in Atlanta, Georgia.
In yet another fresh scandal, Chelsea star Mikel Obi has had to shell out $4,000 to ensure the Nigeria Olympic team caught their flight to Salvador after the hotel in Sao Paulo held the entire team to ransom over the bills incurred by additional officials.
Organisers have insisted on a team of 25 players, made up of 18 players and seven officials, and even sports minister Solomon Dalung has ordered this rule be strictly adhered to.
An impeccable source close to the team revealed that it took the intervention of the Chelsea star, who is also the team captain, who paid over $4, 0000 before the players and officials of the team were allowed to leave the hotel.
According to the source this time around it was the responsibility of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to settle the hotel bills of the extra five officials.
“We just arrived Salvador now (5.20pm Nigerian time) from Sao Paolo. We nearly missed our flight because of unpaid bills in the hotel. The hotel held us to ransom,” a team official told AfricanFootball.com
“The problem is that all the additional officials here in Brazil are the responsibility of the Nigeria Football Federation, who said they will pay for them, but they did not pay for them again.
“The affected officials included the team’s media officer, the team coordinator, the kits manager in charge of players and officials’ kits and the accompanying assistant director technical.
“A call was put across to the honourable minister of youths and sports, he said we should put the bill in the (credit) card but the card didn’t work. They tried and tried but the minister said that only 18 players and seven officials should be captured as regards payment according to the rules of the Olympic Games.
“So, the hotel bills of these other officials, about five of them cost the sum of over $4,000. They held us hostage for more than one hour and we nearly missed our flight. It was Mikel (Obi) who rescued us by paying the money.
“I can tell you honestly speaking that this incident is not the fault of the minister because the minister listed the people to be accommodated which were 18 players and seven officials”, the source disclosed last night.