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Samson Siasia, Nigeria’s former Super Eagles coach and ex-international has expressed utmost displeasure at the alleged nonchalant attitude of the federal government during his match fixing ordeal.
The Coach who was initially banned for life, has seen his punishment reduced to a five-year ban and his initial 50,000 Swiss Francs fine totally reversed. While the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) ruled that Siasia did not receive any bribe and did not fix any match, the court said he not report the matter when he was asked to fix matches by a club official at a club he sought to coach.
While the former Super Eagles star remains grateful with the level of victory he has so far achieved in his case, he expressed reservations at how the sports minister, Sunday Dare, and President Muhammadu Buhari have treated him.
“This my issue is a government problem but up till today, we know Buhari is the President. The Minister of Sports when he came in, I met him, he told me he knew about my problem but they don’t have money and that was it. I thought what he would have done is go to the President. I am a legend, I have played, broke my leg for this country and also coached. If I played for America – yes I have an American passport but I played for Nigeria – if I was like Michael Jordan, they (American government) would take it upon themselves. The Nigerian government has not done well when it comes to my case,” Siasia said at a press conference in Abuja.
“I am not happy, I don’t know if Buhari does not watch TV or does not know what is going on, or the minister is afraid to approach him. He is a person, you can approach him if things like this happen,” he added.
Siasia believes many ex-internationals have been neglected by the country.
“Now they said they gave us houses after 27 years, are we supposed to be jumping up,” Siasia said, referring to the recent announcement by the federal government that houses promised to the victorious Super Eagles squad of 1994 will now be redeemed. Siasia was a member of that squad that won the African Nations Cup.
Though livid with the Nigerian government’s disposition to his case, Siasia is grateful for the CAS ruling that upturned his fine and reduced his life ban.
He said: “In the bible, it says in all things we need to give thanks. So, I want to thank God for the reverse of my life ban to five years and also the fine (50,000 Swiss Francs) which was reversed. Sincerely whether ban or release, I cannot afford that kind of money but I thank CAS for that.
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