Former Super Eagles player and coach, Samson Siasia has recounted how he was abandoned by former teammates and the sports ministry after FIFA slammed him with a life ban from all football-related activities.
FIFA had in 2019, found the top-flight coach guilty of an alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal.
And on Monday, the ban was cut short to five years at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) without any proof that the 54-year-old committed the set crime.
The ban was also accompanied by a 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000) fine – which was consequently overturned “as inappropriate and excessive” as Siasia will be without a job until its expiration in August 2024.
Speaking to reporters on Friday in Abuja, Siasia reiterated his innocence, while recounting how he was deserted by the ministry of sports and his contemporaries in the Super Eagles.
“I never took any bribe, I have never taken a bribe in my entire career…The most disappointing moments were when your colleagues that you played with never called you to ask you how you’re doing. Even the legend games – I don’t know what FIFA ban had to do with legend games – they don’t even invite me or put me amongst whatever they are doing. So I’m very disappointed with that,” he said.
“The minister for sports came in few weeks after my ban. And the minister called me and said, ‘coach, I know about your problem, but we don’t have money.’
“That was it. I think what he could’ve done was to go to the president because I’m a legend – I’ve played, broke my legs, coached for this country. But, unfortunately, the government has not done well when it comes to my case. So I’m not happy.”