Samson Siasia, a former coach of the Super Eagles, claims that the Nigeria Football Federation backed FIFA’s decision to ban him for his alleged involvement in match-fixing in August 2019.

The 56-year-old, whose suspension expires in a few months, claimed in a recent interview with Athlist that the NFF had not only declined to back him but had also followed FIFA’s directive to conceal the fact that the world football body was looking into him.

The former Eagles striker, who was part of the 1994 AFCON winning team, stated, “That is my own take on how this thing played out. Nigeria abandoned me at that time of need.

“They made the allegation that there was bribery. What does bribery entail? When money exchanges hands, is that not it? Was there evidence for that? None were present.”I had a conversation with someone who wanted to employ me as a coach in Australia.

FIFA knew this guy, but I had no idea he was a match-fixer. Why would they let him near a FIFA competition?I played in Australia, so I thought it would be nice to return there when they learned through our correspondence that this guy would take me there.

All we discussed was the amount of sign-on fees, bonuses, transfers, and salaries.”I had no idea that FIFA was looking for me at all.

They have ties to the NFF; I have no affiliation with FIFA. They then went to the NFF and instructed them to keep their investigation into me a secret. But how was I meant to defend myself if they did not tell me?”Then they sent me a letter, but it ended up in my spam,” Siasia continued. I discovered that FIFA was looking for me two days prior to the ban.

After that, we began attempting to get in touch with them in order to arrange a hearing for me.

However, they said that I should go to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) because the time had passed.It took me almost two days to finish that. It is not easy to find a sports lawyer in this country. Seldom can one be found. We thus battled and prevailed. I can tell you that I am still being sued by the boy who we had write the appeal brief so I could get that hearing.

We had an initial agreement in euros, but he insisted that I pay €300,000, which is why it has been taking so long. The reason I am still having trouble with that one is that Nigerians were unable to get up and investigate what was happening.

Siasia finally filed an appeal at CAS in June 2021, after nearly two years of waiting, and was granted a five-year suspension as well as the waiver of an additional fine of 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000).

Having coached the U20 and U23 national teams to silver at the 2005 World Cup and the men’s football event of the 2008 Olympic Games, Siasia is among the greatest coaches in Nigerian history.

Siasia was one of 77 candidates for the then-open Cameroon national team position a few months prior to being dealt a cruel blow by FIFA.

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