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Dogara, Dalung urge Dream Team not to boycott Olympic quarter-final match

By Mayowa Okekale, Abuja on 13/08/2016

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Sports Minister Solomon Dalung have appealed to members of Nigeria’s Dream Team not to boycott today’s quarter-final match against Denmark at the on-going Rio 2016 Olympics.

The Speaker, who made passionate appeal on Friday, in Abuja, tasked the players not to boycott the all-important match, promising that the House will ensure that they are paid all their entitlements.

Dogara, who was speaking against the backdrop of complaints of Team’s Head Coach, Samson Siasia, that the players of the team have refused to train and may boycott the tie due to unpaid allowances and wages, said the Dream Team should take patriotism as a fulcrum of their campaign, as he will personally do everything within his powers to intervene in the matter.

He said the team, with the likes of John Mikel Obi, Yakubu Umar, Oghenekaro Etebor and William Troost-Ekong, has a very bright chance of repeating the feat of the Atlanta ’96 Dream Team led by the legendary Nwankwo Kanu, and the team should be encouraged by all Nigerians.

“We will do all we can to ensure that all entitlements due to the team are paid, as we are already talking to relevant government agencies,” Dogara said.

He noted that football being the major unifying factor in the country should be maximized by all for Nigeria’s continued joy and unity.

Dogara concluded that “we will stop at nothing to ensure that we get the team to excel in Brazil and for Nigeria to recreate the watershed of Atlanta ’96.”

On his part Dalung said the ministry has settled the hotel bills incurred by eight unaccredited players and officials with the country’s Olympic football team in Brazil.

He debunked media reports that the billed was settled by Team Nigeria’s Captain John Mikel Obi. He urged the players to shelve all actions capable of distracting them from their upcoming game on Saturday against Denmark and channel all grievances through the appropriate route.

“Siasia was in my room early this morning and said the hotel security had refused to allow the team leave the hotel due to unpaid hotel bills, said Dalung, in a statement issued by his media aide, Nneka Anibeze.

“I also lodged in the same hotel with the Permanent Secretary and other members of the National Assembly who came to watch the match against Columbia.

“I told him to add the bill to the permanent Secretary’s bill so that he can clear it alongside other bills. The amount incurred by the excess officials and players is $4,600. When we checked out of the hotel, the money was added and the Permanent Secretary paid all outstanding bills. I am surprised to hear and read that Mikel Obi saved an embarrassing situation by paying the bills.”

The minister noted that the eight unaccredited persons – four players and four officials – have been following the team since they left Atlanta. The organisers of the games, the International Olympic Committee are only responsible for 25 accredited players and officials including feeding, flights and accommodation. We have been carrying the rest along.

According to him, “In Manaus, we were forced to pay camp allowances to the extra 4 players making 29. As we speak now, the Nigeria Football Federation is the only federation that does not have a single board member on ground. Not even the Secretary-General is here.

“So, it is really unfortunate that this is happening. We have paid all players and other athletes their first 11 days in camp and the payment of the rest of the days will commence today (Friday).”

•Additional report from The Guardian. Photo shows Dream Team VI.

Source News Express

Posted 13/08/2016 05:49:44 AM

 

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