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Anxiety As CAS Decides On Samson Siasia's Match-fixing Scandal ~Omonaijablog


Former Nigeria International footballer and Coach, Samson Siasia has revealed the Court Of Arbitration For Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland has informed him that his case is coming up on 25 June 2021 in the Swiss Capital.
 
Siasia was banned for life in August of 2019 for match-fixing by football world governing body FIFA, citing a phone interaction with well known Singaporean sports results fixer but brought forward virtually no evidence of any form against the distinguished former Nigerian forward.
 
The Nigeria Football Federation on their side have done very little to help the Bayelsa-born tactician as they have been absolutely quiet on the issue.
 
Meanwhile, former Green Eagles Captain Segun Odegbami seem to be the only senior member of Nigeria’s football fraternity that has publicly bemoaned FIFA’s decision on Siasia and he has severally questioned the evidence the football body has on ground.
 
Odegbami also has at different levels questioned the NFF’s continued silence on the issue.
 
Siasia on the other hand has assured Nigerians he will be vindicated at the end of the day as he believes he has done nothing wrong to deserve such harsh treatment from FIFA.
 
Personally, I am not saying Siasia should be pardoned because as far as I am concerned with the available evidence right now he has done nothing to deserve such a draconian judgment.That to me seem more dictatorial than democratic if FIFA’s well documented clean slate she has been preaching over the years is anything to take seriously.
 
I believe FIFA has not practiced what she has been preaching and I am forced to smell foul-play from home.
 
Siasia’s enemy could be from within.
 
No matter the decision of CAS on 25 June Siasia’s reputation has already been severely dented as there are persons and organizations who will never take him seriously ever again.
 
If Sports Supreme Court exonerates him entirely then, the Football World governing body would have to pay dearly for not carrying-out a proper investigation and absolutely exhausting every available alternative before bringing down the sledge hammer.
 
But if FIFA’s decision is ratified by CAS, which I doubt much, the fight to clear his name will have to go the Supreme Court of Switzerland.
 
At this point, the Nigeria Football Federation has to take a definite stance on the issue.
 
The NFF has to let Nigerians know if they are for or against Siasia.
 
It beats my imagination that someone who has served this nation creditably well as an athlete and coach will be abandoned with such utmost recklessness by those saddled with the responsibility of running football in the Country and to worsen matters, besides Segun Odegbami and a few others, his colleagues, particularly former International Footballers and coaches have kept mute.
 
Some of my professional colleagues have lampooned me for supporting Siasia’s cause, accusing me of being emotional due to my personal relationship with the coach saying when Salisu Yusuf got into trouble I crucified him but we must all understand the facts from the issues.
 
In Yusuf’s case he was caught on video receiving a bribe of 1000 dollars (Which he himself admitted but said the amount was 700 dollars) from a well known Ghanaian investigative Journalist but in Siasia’s case there has not been any form of evidence that should warrant such judgment.
 
Even when Yusuf’s case was glaring for all to see the NFF still gave him all the support he needed and aided his rehabilitation as against Siasia who has been punished for some unsubstantiated reasons.
 
With FIFA’s weak evidence, Samson Siasia is innocent for now and if FIFA can prove otherwise 25th June will tell barring any last minute change in date for CAS to take a decision, a situation that has characterized this case in the past several months.
 
For the records, Samson Siasia has been an ambassador of this nation, projecting the image of Nigeria positively internationally for several years.
 
At the tender age of 15 he was already on the plane to join his colleagues at the FIFA under-20 World Championships in Mexico in 1983.
 
He was not a squad member and couldn’t feature but two years later at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup finals in Moscow he played an important role alongside Monday Odiaka in attack to help Nigeria win Africa’s first medal at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup tournament.
 
He thereafter graduated into the senior national team, the Green Eagles and played active role in Nigeria’s involvement in the ill-fated qualifiers to the 1990 FIFA World Cup which claimed the life of midfielder, Samuel Okwaraji on 12 August 1989 during a game against Angola in Lagos.
 
His first major tournament with Nigeria was at the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Senegal where he was adjudged by many to be Nigeria’s best performer as the Eagles eventually settled for a bronze.
 
He was also part of Nigeria’s glory moment as Nigeria came from behind to beat the then “KK Eleven” of Zambia 2-1 on 10 April 1994 at the El-Menza Stadium in Tunis to win the Nation’s second Africa Cup of Nations title.

He played at both the qualifiers for the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the main tournament, scoring a wonder goal against the Albeceleste of Argentina on 25 June 1994 at the Fox Borough Stadium in Boston, a game Nigeria lost 2-1.
 
As a matter of fact today he is regarded as being a member of Nigeria’s golden generation of international footballers.
 
At Club level he played for several distinguished clubs home and abroad including Elkanemi Warriors of Maiduguri in Nigeria and Nantes in France.
 
As a Coach he won the Africa Youth Championship with Nigeria in 2005 in Benin Republic and same year piloted Nigeria to the Final of the FIFA World Youth Championship in The Netherlands where Nigeria lost 2-1 to Argentina.
 
In 2006 he was an assistant to Austin Eguavoen in the Super Eagles team to that year’s Nations cup finals in Egypt.
 
After then he took over the Nigeria national Under-23 side the “Dream Team” and led them to a silver-medal finish at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and landed the Super Eagles top job in 2010, though unsuccessful with the team he came back and won the Africa Under-23 Championship with Nigeria and won another Olympic medal, this time a bronze with the Under-23 side at the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil.
 
He has been credited for having discovered several talented footballers for Nigeria who include Odion Jude Ighalo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Junior Ajayi, Chima Uchechi, Oluwafemi Ajilore, Efe Ambrose and several others.
 
We have to stand by him until we are absolutely sure he is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.
 
 
 

All, except headline was written by 
MBUM FERDINAND.
HEAD OF SPORTS at Jay101.9fm in Jos, Plateau State, North-Central Nigeria.

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