* Claims ignorance of NFF’s engagement of foreign coach
Tobi Soniyi in Auja
Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has admitted that late release of funds to the nation’s Olympics team affected its performance at the just-concluded games in Rio, Brazil,
The minister also said that the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) had not informed him that it hired a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles even as he described as unfair the federation’s treatment of Dream Team’s coach, Samson Siasia.
Dalung had never hidden his preference for a local coach, but the NFF had recently announced a German coach, Gernot Rohr, to manage the Super Eagles.
Speaking with State House correspondents shortly after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s outing at the just concluded Olympics games in Rio, Brazil, Dalung said he wished the new coach the best of luck even though NFF had not informed him of Rohr’s appointment.
He said he begged the president to host the Nigerian contingent to the Olympics Games in Rio, Brazil, despite winning only one bronze medal in football and coming 78th on the medals table.
He also rejected the claims that Siasia who handled the football team at the Olympics had resigned, saying the true situation was that his contract with the NFF had lapsed.
The minister also faulted the way the NFF treated Siasia, when it withdrew his official car in Abuja while struggling to secure a medal for the country in Rio.
He insisted Siasia was still relevant to football development in Nigeria, advising that he (Siasia) could be re-engaged based on his track record and pedigree.
According to the Sports Minister, it would be sad to have someone like Siasia leave Nigeria to go and represent another country out of frustration, just like many athletes did at the Rio Olympics.
Dalung also exonerated Siasia and his team over the $390, 000 donation by a Japanese surgeon.