“Am Done With Nigeria, They Don't Appreciate My Sacrifices” — Samson Siasia

Coach of the National U-23 team, appears to be through with Nigeria for now following a rift with sports minister Solomon Dalung… In this last assignment for the Rio Olympics, Dalung called him names for taking the team to Atlanta for preparation.Before then the same minister publicly condemned him for dropping some players who played in the African Championship in Senegal.
 The minister wanted all those who played in Senegal to be in Rio their fitness level or injuries notwithstanding. The Nigeria Football Federation owed him salaries running up to five months. He never got the support he needed from the ministry to the federation. In this interview with Vanguard Correspondent Jude Opara, Siasia speaks on his future in Nigeria and many more. Excerpts.

Welcome from Rio Olympics. How does it feel? 

It feels good because the end justifies the means. We wanted the gold but we are still happy with the bronze because it made Nigerians happy. The minister accused you of child trafficking for taking the team to Atlanta without his knowledge or consent. How can I take a national team out of the country without their knowledge of the NFF and the Sports Ministry? I really don’t know were that was coming from. We had the plan to travel from Atlanta to Brazil on the 29th of July. But the agent who was handling that did not get us the chartered flight or pay for our tickets, but nothing actually happened and that was when I, on my own, decided to contact an agent, Greg. But the guy said he would not do anything until he saw that the money was paid into his account. After three days, the guy said he was no longer interested and even told other operators not to deal with us that we were not a serious people.

What is your next step with the national team? 

My next step is that I am done with Nigeria for now. You can’t keep going to a place where they don’t appreciate you. It does not worth it. Sometimes it is not about the money but the approach. They seem not to appreciate the sacrifices. I know how much I have sacrificed since the team began camping two years ago. How can you keep going to people who don’t appreciate you? It does not make sense, so I am done for now. I have to go somewhere else where they will appreciate what I have done and what I can do and pay me the respect that I deserve. But many Nigerians out there still appreciate you. I know and that is why I keep coming to do the dirty jobs for them because of my numerous fans out there but I can’t just continue because those fans are not the policy makers. How can you keep toiling for five months without even your salary?  Nothing has changed in the last two years. It has been from bad to worse, so we must sit down and do something about the structure of Nigerian football and by extension sports in general. It doesn’t worth it to work with the people running sports now in Nigeria. From the Federation to the sports ministry. They don’t have it and will not give what they don’t have. It feels bad. It is like you already have somewhere in mind. No, I don’t have any place in mind. I just have to go an d rest for two months and while I am resting, I will not be the one looking for where to go. There are people who will be doing that. But for me I am done with Nigeria until things change. Imagine any time they have a problem, they will call on me to come and help but they will use me and later dump me. I have not started any team of the Super Eagles from the beginning, not even one time. I want to thank them very very much. Even before I returned from the Olympics, the only car they gave me, they took it away from my wife. That is just awesome. That is not how to treat someone who was out there seeking glory for the nation. Let them eat their national team.

Are you saying you will never come to work for Nigeria again? 

No not now, I will not change my mind when the same people are there doing the same thing over and over again. If the right people come on board tomorrow then I may reconsider my position because I am also a Nigerian but truly, I will no longer work with these people. We are out of the AFCON, U-20 and U-17 teams have all crashed out, what hope do we have to qualify for the 2018 World Cup? I wish the country well, but before we talk of qualifying we must do the right thing. When we don’t do the right thing and still want to qualify, then it does not work that way. Yes we pray, but other countries also pray and God is a fair God and I believe God will most likely answer the prayer of the person who has worked and prayed. To succeed you must plan and if you don’t plan in any human endeavour, you have planed to fail. But they have hired a new Coach and that is the first step towards succeeding Well they have hired a coach, I wish them well but what time does he have to even know the players he intends to work with? I sincerely pray that he qualifies us for the World Cup.

Read he full interview HERE