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‘ Nigeria abandoned me ‘ – Samson Siasia laments

Former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, has voiced his frustration with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) regarding their handling of his case during FIFA’s investigation into allegations of match-fixing.

In 2019, FIFA imposed a lifetime ban on Siasia from all football-related activities due to his alleged involvement in bribery and match-fixing. However, following an appeal, the ban was reduced to five years.

Siasia, who has represented Nigeria both as a player and a coach, vehemently denied the accusations leveled against him but lacked sufficient backing from football authorities in his country.

Speaking to Athlist in a recent interview, Siasia expressed disappointment with the lack of support from the NFF during FIFA’s investigation. He accused the federation of neglecting him when he needed assistance the most. Siasia revealed that he had to borrow money to cover legal expenses when appealing his case.

“Nigeria abandoned me at that time of need; that’s my own take on how this thing played out,” Siasia lamented.

Regarding the allegations, Siasia questioned the evidence presented by FIFA, saying that no proof of bribery was provided.

He recounted an incident involving communication with an individual who later turned out to be associated with match-fixing. Despite his unawareness of the individual’s background, FIFA was aware of the connection, raising questions about their actions.

“When FIFA was looking for me, I didn’t even know,” Siasia stated. “So they went to the NFF and told them not to let me know that they were investigating me. But if they didn’t tell me, how was I supposed to defend myself?”

Siasia further detailed the challenges he faced in preparing his appeal, including difficulties in finding suitable legal representation within a short timeframe. He expressed ongoing struggles, including a legal dispute with his appeal lawyer over fees.

Samson Siasia’s ban will end in August 2024.

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