Odegbami: Samson Siasia Does Not Deserve to be Abandoned NOW!

Odegbami: Samson Siasia Does Not Deserve to be Abandoned NOW!

I can hardly recognize the present-day Nigeria from the country I was born into, grew up in, and served in my own little ways.

Beyond politics, corruption and poor governance that have raped and left this abundantly rich and blessed country prostrate with poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, millions of jobless youths, ethnic crisis, kidnappings, senseless internecine killings, and more, I find that we have arrived at the final frontier, that point beyond which there can be no redemption – our humanity. Where, when, how did we become such a completely dehumanized people without love and compassion for each other?

Everything about the Nigerian could fail but not the spirit of community and concern for the weak, the afflicted, and the aged in society.

Nigerians welcomed strangers with open arms, treated them without discrimination, like kings and queens, and provided for them an atmosphere where they could flourish even at the expense of their own people. That was the Nigeria of old.

Also Read – Odegbami: Samson Siasia and FIFA’s Draconian Judgement!

Suddenly those values are disappearing fast.

I am forced again to write about Samson Siasia.

I have done so twice in the past 6 months, drawing attention to the plight of a man who has been unjustly condemned by FIFA for a crime that some of us believe he never committed, and that FIFA has never taken the trouble to clearly state so that the world would know what he did (or did not do).

Nigerians forget so quickly and easily who Samson Siasia is, and what he has done for Nigeria, and should never have been left alone at this period of his greatest challenge.

FIFA passed a ‘death’ sentence on him, a life ban from the only activity he has always known throughout his life – football – because he failed to respond to an email sent to him to come and defend himself in a scandalous matter of match fixing.

Samson cried out to the world, (and many did not believe him) that he never saw the mail because he had not been using that particular email box for his correspondences for some time. True or not, the facts still remain that nothing categorical was ever traced to him resembling ‘match fixing’ – not a particular match, not a team, not a player(s).

He had some contact with a man, as did a lot of people involved in one football business or the other, that was caught for fixing matches. Does that make everyone that knew him complicit? The man was a registered football agent that does various businesses in football with many people, teams, players, federations and coaches within the football circuit.

Also Read – Odegbami: Encounter With Samson Siasia – Forgotten so Soon?

The only way for Samson Siasia to defend himself was to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sports , CAS. He could not raise the exorbitant cost before the deadline given. Through the effort of his lawyers, the matter was raised again with CAS, who now gave him a lifeline to defend himself, at a private sitting in CAS’s office in Switzerland, in the month of January.

samson-siasia-simon-kalika-fifa-wilson-raj-perumal-super-eagles-cas-court-of-arbitration-for-sports-nff-segun-odegbami-fifa-racism-cas-court-of-arbitration-for-sports

I have followed his case remotely, asked probing questions, and I now see that Nigeria, through its football authorities, has not been fair at all to the man that served the federation and country so diligently, and is facing a charge that reeks of injustice from one mile away. They could have investigated on their own and let Nigerians know what they think rather than just keep silent and allow their innocent servant rot in ‘jail’.

If Samson Siasia was involved in match-fixing it makes sense to assume it must have been with one of the teams or players he was involved with – any of the three Nigerian national teams and the players in the teams. Those were the only teams he was involved with during his entire 12 years’ career as a national team coach.

There is not one of the national teams, or one of the players that played under him throughout his career that has been named in any match-fixing charge.

So, what match(es) did he fix, or was he only an accessory to fixing? How, where, when?

You cannot separate him from a team, or players in alleging the offence he is purported to have committed. In this case, he has only ever coached Nigeria’s national teams where his records are impeccable and without blemish.

The least the Nigerian government could do for him is request their Football Federation to conduct a quiet investigation of their own, and brief government before abandoning him to his fate.

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Siasia (r) with former assistant at the national team, Simon Kalika and and Ike Shorunmu

His present situation is Nigeria’s eventual loss. He is one of only very few Nigerians that have the pedigree to take on the responsibility an unfolding development in football presents.

Racism is on the rise. It has permeated European football, and nationalism is on the rise everywhere. Black persons, including Nigerians, are the prime victims of the increasing scourge.

Nigeria now has a present responsibility to sink or swim with its own coaches, or with Black coaches around the world, in this new fight of civilisations and slavery, cloaked in racism. Already, Black players are never considered good and intelligent enough to rise above the level of players into higher levels of coaching, management and administration in football.

There is serious racism on the field and in the terraces. The only way Black and African coaches can get to the top is to go back to their roots and own it, give themselves the training, the knowledge, the experience, the time and the opportunity to handle their own teams, take on the world, and win or lose.

Samson Siasia remains one of the most promising and accomplished Black coaches in African football to lead that struggle.

He took Nigeria to the finals of the 2005 Under-20 World Cup that matched Lionel Messi against Mikel Obi in an epic, unforgettable final.

He took Nigeria to win Silver Medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, and was listed amongst the best 15 coaches in the world, and second best on the African continent after that.

In 2016 he returned to a very demoralized Nigerian Olympic team heading to Brazil. He sought funds from external sources to camp and train the team in Nigeria and in the USA, took them to the Games and returned with the only Bronze medal Nigeria won in all sports at the Games.

Samson Siasia was on the rise in stature, knowledge and experience when his career was cut short by the political intrigues in Nigerian football aided by a few poor results resulting in some fracas with some people at the helm of football in Nigeria.

Before all this, he had served Nigeria as a junior player to Mexico in 1985, and at senior level, as a first-team member of, probably, the best assembly and most successful national team in Nigeria’s history – the 1994 squad that won the African Cup of Nations and played at the first World Cup in the USA.

He was in the team that emerged as the most entertaining team during the USA ‘94 World Cup, personally scoring one of the goals of the championship against Argentina at Fox Boro Stadium.

Samson is amongst those that are still to be fully rewarded for those feats of 1994 – no national honour, and no house in Abuja.

Samson Siasia must not be left to languish as a result of one simple innocuous error. Nigeria needs to get up and support him if the country investigates and finds out he is not guilty as many of us believe after looking at the facts on ground.

He needs to be supported by the Nigeria Football Federation, by the federal government, by his State government, and by influential and rich Nigerians who may still have in their DNA the spirit of unconditional love and compassion.

Segun Odegbami

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 17
  • Thank you Sir for your time to put all this facts together. As a patrotic Nigeria, my worried was did he kill, steal, commit murder or what offense did he commit that made him  to warrant such a huge punishment. 
    On the other hand I realized FIFA was just been wicked in their act to deal with Nigeria future glory in football having seen what Samson Siasia had been able to achieved in the past.
    FIFA knew very well that if this man is allowed to continue in this way, then one day, Nigeria will win World Cup. 
    NFF on their own in collaboration with old sport minister tried all their best to frustrate him and then tag him a failure enroute Olympic 2016. All is there for us to see. 
    The hope of qualification for London 2012 Olympic was dashed by Egueavon and 2020 was dashed by NFF, Imama and co. 
    God bless Samson Siasia more and more and your children. 
    Nigeria love you and still need you and please if there is anyway we can assist and support you on this case pls kindly talk to media. 

     
  • Oakfield 7 months ago

    Who would want to deep his feet into a case (esp as it pertains corruption) that it’s outcome is very uncertain? You wey dy write this sponsored epistle, why don’t u want to support him with the little u have, no amount is small na. He’s gotten himself hoodwinked in a very delicate issue abd hence, no right thinking business man would like to invest his resources in such a case. If the govt knows he’s clean, then I see no reason why they should be folding their arms. But bcos they know he might be culpable, everybody is holding tight to whatever they have.

     
    • This comment is very insensitive, uncalled for and extremely ridiculous and wicked. Please lets learn not to just post comments without thinking them through.

       
      • Oakfield 7 months ago

        @debo,U mean FIFA just woke up and came up with frivolous allegations???? Mehn,hell no!! FIFA is way too big for that, in fact , it’s one of the most structured organisations in the world and hence can’t just come up with cooked up allegations without proper investigation. There is no smoke without fire, if you like blow all the grammar wey dey for Oxford dictionary, I still stand by what I said. Siasia ain’t a saint!

         
        • Tartan 7 months ago

          And you might be one of the fools or rather ungrateful soul who celebrated him while he was defying all odds after shoddy preparation by the nff.

          Nigerians have a lot of green snakes who turn against you when you have a bad day.

           
          • Oakfield 7 months ago

            Don’t draw my wrath @tartan,pls pipe low. Are u trying to gain popularity here??? Mind ur words …..

             
          • onwajunior 7 months ago

            I believe FIFA has its guidelines of consequences for REPEATED cases of bribery. I’m sure if you check there are others that have received such ban. Yes, he didn’t kill anyone but he may have killed people’s dreams (same goes for Aigbogun, Yusuf, Manu and other pay-to-play coaches who killed our football). Have you thought of those talented ones who never got the chance to play because they couldn’t afford? It’s unfortunate that he was made a scapegoat (for Nigeria, because I’m sure there are others who received similar punishment), but I think he should move on, appeal (if allowed) or focus on other things. 

             
        • Creekboi 7 months ago

          Lets not also forget some of these players has come out to testify that they weren’t picked because they didn’t pay bribes, even David alaba said it.

           
        • Did you follow the whole story at all? Was he ever given a chance to defend himself? Can they just pronounce people guilty until proven? If they are fair then they would not declare an exorbitant amount to be paid before allowing him to defend himself. His mother was kidnapped when they started this witch hunting. Are they not human to allow him some time? And as for FIFA being the most organized body I also put it to you that FIFA is one of the most corrupt body globally. The proof is there for all to see. I beg stop all these holier than thou attitude of yours joor. Telm me where there is no smoke all around FIFA and they keep looking the other way. What have they done to CAF president and even Pinnick despite glaring corruption?

          African teams had been at the receiving end of daylight robbery when it comes to FIFA. Can FIFA really feign ignorance or innocence? You are a typical African man. We will rather kill our own to preserve the so called integrity of a white man. The neo colonialism still continues because we Africans are just unwise. FIFA is well organized indeed my foot.

           
        • The same structured fifa banned Etim Esin for what he knew nothing about when he was accused of rape and even when the girl gave birth to a white baby Fifa still kept Etim banned until the late MKO Abiola stepped up to personally help him. Please, let us stop rubbishing our heros, if he actually fixed a match why didn’t they come out with the full report and let the World know the name of the team , the match he fixed, the date , the country where it was played, the money he received, the bank account and how it was transferred and other actors like players, agents, coaches etc. You cannot ban a coach for life just for talking to a crook

           
  • thank you very much my Segun Odegbami May the Lord bless you, I really appreciate all what you wrote about Samson Siasia,let the people at the helm of affairs in sports rise and do what is necessary and save the carrier of one of the best brain in spor in our country, once again I say thank you for this write up

     
  • Chima E Samuels 7 months ago

    CS please it would make every sense if you create more awareness about Siaone so that we can rescue him from the devils of the world. A fund raising should be raised online as well for every meaningful Nigerian to make donations for him to prove his innocence!

    Here’s a coach who was voted top 15 not even 20 may God his own.

     
  • Omo9ja 7 months ago

    Used and dumped NFF attitudes. I will advise Mr. Siasia to put is faith in God. Only God can help you in this situation.

    NFF will keep promising you but in the end, they have nothing to offer you.

    We should not blame Tammy Abraham and co, we can see now that if you have problems, you are on your own.

    Truth is bitter. God bless Nigeria!!!

     
  • Glory 7 months ago

    Samson Siasia will forever remain my No. I Nigerian Coach. He surely need support wether monetary or moral support n not judgement yet. But this report coming from Odegbami has a tone that doesn’t seem honest. I might be wrong. But for a man that has been witch hunting an NFF n coach, who have despite all their troubles against fictitious claims of corruption by some mischievous individuals, done well, I refuse to go with Odegbami. NFF will definitely support Siasia as soon as things calm down but my fear is people like Odegbami, Kojo Williams, Onigbinde, Fashanu, Darlung etc n not forgetting, Giwa, who is still very much bitter over what befell him, will continue to do everything they can to stop NFF from truly settling down to work, of which taking up responsibility for Siasia’s case is one. Everyone mentioned above are supposed to be working with NFF by being supportive n positive.For truly n truly, these are men with very good experiences but they have decided to be negative n this is doing our football a great harm.

     
  • Sunnyb 7 months ago

    Chima, Glory and others thank you guys for supporting Siaone, the man has done so much for Nigeria,won us many laurels, produced many star players, we need to stand with him, hopefully God will see him through.fifa itself is a very corrupt organization so I don’t trust there findings, same organization that awards hosting rights based  on bribery and arm twisting. We need more information on this case.When was the case tried, who are the witnesses, how much was paid to Siaone account, how many matches are they talking about, we need to know all this questions. You can’t destroy this man career based on some  silly and unfounded charges.life punishment is too severe and callous.

     
  • ADETIPE DAMILARE 7 months ago

    if there is a way we can help out, lets all do it…by making it known to all who believe and trust SAMSON SIASIA, I BELIEVE HIM AND HE HAS THAT INTERGIRTY OF NOT BEING CORRUPT.