Dalung Says VOA Interview Was Edited Out of Context

solomon-dalungNigeria’s Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has cleared the air on his interview with the Voice of America, Hausa Service where he was reported to have said the Super Eagles do not need to attend the 2018 World Cup since they can’t win the trophy.

Mr Dalung said that the interview which he granted four months ago was misinterpreted, insisting  he has total confidence in the team to pick the sole tick in their group for Russia 2018.

He said that the interview was edited midway into a more comprehensive conversation and the act has sent a misconception about his commitment to the ongoing World Cup campaign.

“The statement was taken out of context. It was part of a comprehensive interview I granted four months ago when I was reacting to the status of African nations in global competitions and also football administration globally. Where do we stand?

“The question also was that whether Nigeria or any African country is likely going to host the World Cup. My reaction was what was captured.

“Unfortunately, the interview did not avail those who listened the complete narrative so that they can benefit from the background with which the response was taken,” he explained.

He maintained that the Nigerian government and the Ministry of Sport remain committed to ensuring that Nigeria re-positions itself as a global player in football and lead other African countries to the top of the game.

He urged Nigerians to support the Super Eagles to ensure that they do not lose the momentum that is in their favour in the 2018 World Cup qualifying series.

He added that his selfless contributions so far in Super Eagles’s quest for qualification, particularly ahead of the away win in Zambia, contradicts the impression that he was not in support of the team.

Dalung Says Siasia Has Not Resigned, Gernot Rohr’s Appointment Unofficial

Solomon Dalung, Samson Siasia, Gernot RohrThe Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, says he has not been officially informed of the appointment of a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The NFF had in early August, appointed a German, Gernot Rohr, to manage the Eagles, despite Mr Dalung’s preference for a local coach.

He claimed that Coach Samson Siasia, who led the Nigeria’s U-23 football team to win a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, had not resigned, contrary to media reports, although his contract with the NFF had lapsed.

Siasia had told reporters that he had on August 27 resigned as the coach of Nigeria’s U-23 football team because of what he describes as “a disrespectful system”.

Mr Dalung’s frowned at the treatment meted to Siasia by the NFF, alleging that they withdrew his official car in Abuja while he was battling to secure a medal for Nigeria in Rio.

While hinting that he had met with Siasia on Monday, he said Nigeria needed him ‎in football development.

Samson Siasia
Coach Samson Siasia

The Sports Minister further pointed out that even if the NFF would not re-engage him, the Federation should at least, give him some peace of mind to enable him make his contributions in a personal capacity.

He noted that it would be sad to have such coach leave Nigeria for another country out of frustration, just like many athletes did as witnessed during the Rio Olympics.

Abysmal Outing Of Team Nigeria

Dalung also cleared the air on the $390,000 donation to Siasia and his team by a Japanese surgeon, saying that after he met the donor in Rio, he was convinced there were no strings like match-fixing attached to the donation.

He attributed the abysmal outing of the Nigerian Olympic contingent to late release of funds and inability to develop home-grown talents.

The Minister emphasised the need for the National Sports Commission which he said was unfortunately scrapped by a government committee that recommended merger of ministries.‎

He was at the State House on Tuesday in Abuja to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s outing at the ‎just concluded Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Since Team Nigeria were able to win bronze medal in football, Mr Dalung urged the President to host the team.

Dream Team Win First Medal For Nigeria In Rio

Nigeria-dream-Team-in-Rio-OlympicsThe Dream Team VI on Saturday won Nigeria’s only medal at the Rio Olympics.

The football team, led by John Mikel, defeated hard-fighting Honduras 3 – 2 to clinch the bronze medal at the Olympic Games.

Sadiq Umar scored a brace with Aminu Umar also getting on the score sheet before the Central Americans fought back to take the game to 3-2.

They were earlier denied a place in the finals when they lost 2 – 0 to Germany while Brazil also beat Honduras 6 – 0.

The African Champions have so far, won three medals in their Olympics history.

They won gold in Atlanta 1996, Silver in Beijing 2008 and now have a bronze medal in Rio 2016.

Tactical Lapses Responsible For Loss To Germany, Says Abiodun Obafemi

Nigeria-dream-Team-in-OlympicsEx-Nigerian footballer, Abiodun Obafemi, has blamed the Nigerian coaching staff for the semifinal loss against Germany on Wednesday.

The defender said a wrong tactical approach was used in the match which was played at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Well, I think we played against a formidable and better team,” Obafemi told Goal.

“The cohesion and the urgency was not there, until later in the second half. I was expecting the whole team, particularly the officials of the team to have studied the previous games of the German team.

“I watched the Germans with the team they played in the quarterfinal and expected the coaching crew would have studied them well and planned a better tactical approach.

“I believe we didn’t do our homework. I was expecting us to close-mark them but we allowed them to play freely and dictate the pace of the game.

“We made it too easy for them. I expected we should have won the game. I’m not really happy with the outcome because the approach was not right.

“I was expecting a do-or-die spirit from the boys. Yes there were couple of players who stepped up their game, but I did not see them show great desire and seriousness to win the game.

Goals from Lukas Klostermann and Nils Petersen shattered the Dream Team VI hopes for the gold and gifted the Europeans a place in the final against hosts Brazil.

Meanwhile, Nigeria, which has not won any medal in the 2016 Olympics, now prepare to fight for third place against Honduras after the North Americans were trashed 6-0 by host nation, Brazil.

Abiodun Obafemi was part of Nigeria’s Gold Medal winning team at the 1996 Olympics.

Olympic Soccer: Germany Thwart Nigeria’s Hope For Gold

Nigeria-U-23-Olympic-Germany-Dream TeamDream Team VI have failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics finals as they lost 2 – 0 to Germany on Wednesday night.

The Germans got the winning edge over the Nigerians with an early goal from Lukas Klostermann.

Efforts by Coach Samson Siasia’s boys to level the score were unsuccessful as the first half ended 1 – 0.

The Nigerians seemed more prepared to fight for the finals ticket in the second half as they came out stronger than they were earlier.

However, Germany’s Nils Petersen truncated the hope of the Dream Team with his 89th minute goal.

The Germans would contend for the championship title with host country, Brazil who beat Honduras 6 – 0.