The coach of the Under-23 team, Samson Siasia, has dedicated the team’s victory at the Senegal 2015 Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations to his mother Beauty Siasia and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria beat Algeria 2-1 in the final in Dakar, after qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In an interview with Brila FM on Monday, Siasia said the players and the coaches had not been paid allowances and bonuses.
“I dedicate the victory to Nigerians, those who were praying for us, and my mother, who came out of the den of those people who kidnapped her, and the President. This is like a Christmas present to Mr. President,” Siasia said.
On the rumours that the players threatened to boycott the final due to unpaid allowances and a lack of jerseys, Siasia said, “That was the true picture. We didn’t get anything for one year. We need to tell the truth so that we can have changes in the sports sector.
“You know in Nigeria, people always try to hide the truth because they don’t want to offend somebody. If things don’t change, we cannot improve. For one year, we didn’t get allowances; we didn’t get any bonuses, no training kits but we kept quiet about it. We know what we’ve done to preserve the country’s name. We managed the jerseys we had and hide ourselves sometimes just because if this country fails, we’ve all failed.
“But it gets to a point, you can’t handle it anymore. Of all the teams that came to Senegal, it was only our team that didn’t have anything to wear. We kept on managing what we had. We tried our best not to embarrass our country but it is really too much. We cannot continue like this. From the way we prepared, we were not supposed to win anything.”
However, Siasia said the Nigeria Football Federation was not at fault, saying the body lacked money to do the things they ought to do.
Siasia also said he didn’t allow his mother’s abduction to disrupt the team’s preparations for the tournament.
“At a point, I forget about my mother and remembered Nigeria as a whole. The country is bigger than any one of us. I put the plight of my mother aside and focused on the assignment so that I can make thing happen for all Nigerians, who believed in me,” he said.