Speaking with Punch Newspaper in an exclusive interview, coach of the Bronze-winning under-23 team, Samson Siasia, has said that the team used one set of Jersey through out the African Championship in Senegal and preparation for the Olympics.
The coach who described the period as the most difficult of his career, also revealed how he begged for the team not to be thrown out of a hotel in Atlanta, USA during the camping for the Games.
He said: “I think it’s the most difficult ever; my mum was kidnapped and we managed to win the African championship in Senegal. When things like these happen, all I’m saying is that they should appreciate someone that sacrificed everything that ensured this country got to the Olympics.”
Siasia pointed out that he and his players went through a difficult time during preparations for the Olympics in Brazil and were not encouraged by the sports handlers in the country.
“I saw on social media an NFF official saying he wants to destroy Samson Siasia’s career. Is that how you appreciate people? What have I done that anyone wants to destroy my career? All I did was to sacrifice everything I had. (Segun) Oduduwa got injured, I paid from my purse; it’s my money.
“And, it’s not just for one or two players. We didn’t have water to drink; we found a way to get water to drink because we wanted to make sure the players were perfect.
“They wanted to kick us out of the hotel, I begged the woman in the hotel so that we could stay before we got our tickets to travel. Is that how you treat someone that’s sacrificed everything he has for the country? I don’t think that’s right.”
He said his players had to wash and wear same set of jerseys for two years.
“We used one set of jerseys for matches throughout the competition because we didn’t have any other set of jerseys. We played with one set of jerseys in Senegal (African U-23 championship) to qualify (for the Olympics).
“There are people that are wicked; they don’t see any good thing that comes out of your dedication and commitment towards trying to ensure that the country gets something back.
“Look at the final of the Olympics, after Brazil and Germany, the Nigerian flag was next. That means we’ve done well. The colours there were green, white, and green. I know Nigerians were happy about that and I thank them for their support – it was overwhelming.”