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Samson Siasia Blames NFF For Five-Year Ban, Defends Himself

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Former Super Eagles of Nigeria head coach, Samson Siasia, has blamed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for his ban from football.

Recall that Samson Siasia suffered a five-year ban from football in August 2019 after the world football governing body, FIFA accused him of match-fixing.

Before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) slammed him with the ban, Siasia was one of the coaches shortlisted for the Cameroon national team coaching job. Unfortunately for him, he lost the opportunity to contend for the post due to the ban.

Siasia who has won silver at the under-20 World Cup, silver and bronze at the Olympics, and the youth championship for Nigeria, said he got to know that FIFA was investigating him when it was too late for him to have a hearing.

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The 56-year-old Nigerian tactician said football stakeholders in the country abandoned him as he had to struggle for two years before he was able to raise money to appeal his ban.

“Nigeria abandoned me at that time of need; that’s my take on how this thing played out,” Samson Siasia said in an interview with Athlist.

“It’s an allegation; they said bribery. What is bribery? Is it not when money changes hands? Was there any proof of that? There were none.

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“I spoke with someone who was trying to hire me as a coach in Australia. I didn’t know the guy was a match-fixer, but FIFA knew this guy. Why would they allow him to be around any FIFA tournament?

“So, when they found out through emails, our correspondence about how this guy would take me to Australia, I played in Australia, so I felt it would be nice to go back there.

“We talked about how much salaries, transfers, bonuses, and sign-on fees were, and that was all.

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“When FIFA was looking for me, I didn’t even know. I am not affiliated with FIFA; their affiliation is with the NFF. 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?”

Samson Siasia continued, “Then they sent me a letter, but it went to my spam. It was two days before the ban that I found out that FIFA was looking for me.

“Then we started to see how we could communicate with them to see how I could have a hearing. But they said the time had elapsed and I should go to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).

“For me to do that, it took like two days. Finding a sports lawyer in this country is not easy. You can hardly find one. So, we struggled and managed. I can tell you that the boy we took to write the appeal brief for me to get that hearing is suing me up until today.

“It has been dragging because he said I have to pay €300,000 even though our initial agreement was in euros. I’m still struggling with that one just because Nigerians couldn’t stand up on their feet and check what was going on.”

Note that Samson Siasia’s ban will officially come to an end in August 2024.

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