The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung and NFF President Amaju Pinnick have doused feelings of discontent in the Nigeria U23 team camp, ahead of Saturday’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament quarterfinal clash with Denmark.
Pinnick said on Friday afternoon that he spoke with Head Coach Samson Siasia, noting that the team would certainly be in high spirit for the clash with the Danes at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Saturday evening.
The minister said, “I just finished a long telephone discussion with Siasia and I explained to him the situation the NFF is in and why he has not received his salary. As I explained last week, we received some money from CAF and I directed that the money be used to offset the salaries of the U23 team coaches and also for the Super Falcons’ coaches.
“The money has come into the NFF account but it has to first go into our TSA (Treasury Single Account) before we can access it and then use it. The vouchers for the payment have already been done.
“Siasia confirmed that before I spoke to him, the NFF General Secretary had also called him to explain the situation to him. We are not unmindful of what our coaches are going through in this challenging period and we praise them for their patriotism and hard work despite all these.”
Pinnick also commended the Sports Minister for his concern for the team’s welfare. “I want to specially appreciate the Honourable Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung, who had already dispatched accountants to the U23 team hotel to pay the allowances of players and officials before I called the team.
“The Honourable Minister instructed the accountants to also pay the four alternate players, who are not accredited for the Games. We commend him for his efforts.”
The 1996 champions, who are also the reigning champions of Africa, were scheduled to have a feel of the Arena Fonte Nova on Friday evening, ahead of the clash with the Danes, who lost 0-4 to Brazil in their final group match on Wednesday.