Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Super Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi, has shed more light on the monetary gift made to Nigeria by Japanese plastic surgeon, Katsuya Takasu after the national Under-23 team won the bronze medal at Rio 2016.
Mikel admitted that the money had not been cashed two months after the Olympic Games.
Takasu travelled from Japan all to Belo Horizonte to present the monetary reward of $390,000 in total to the cash strapped team after they defeated Honduras 3-2 to cap their crisis riddled campaign with a bronze medal.
Mikel, who confirmed that the sum of $190,000 was paid into his account, told reporters that the cheque was yet to clear. The other installment of $200,000 was also transferred via the Dream Team VI Chief Coach, Samson Siasia.
The Chelsea midfielder, who spoke on the eve of Eagles’ departure to Ndola for a World Cup qualifying match against Zambia, said that there have been some glitches in cashing the cheque, even as he assured that the money had not caused any issues among the players.
He also joined issues with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which questioned the propriety of the team to receive the money. He insisted it was a gift to the team and nothing unusual about it.
“I don’t see anything wrong in accepting the gift. We had a good tournament and we received a gift from someone. It was signed in my name and the coach’s name. The money is there, it is a cheque, no player saw cash, but it has not cleared yet”, Mikel said.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, had strongly objected the players receiving the money on the ground that it could make them prone to the influence of the notorious Asian betting syndicate.
The Senate Sports Committee led by Senator Obinna Ogba similarly objected to the players accepting the gift from Takasu.