Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung on Friday expressed surprise about the claims that captain of the Dream Team, John Mikel Obi settled hotel bills of some of the club’s officials.
He also lamented that the country’s men football team is portraying the country in bad light at the ongoing Rio Olympics because the no board member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), is on the ground to co-ordinate.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that captain John Mikel Obi had to pay hotel bills accruing from the eight unaccredited players and officials in Rio with the National U-23 team.
Only two days ago, the players threatened a boycott of today’s quarter-final game against Denmark, citing unpaid entitlements.
“As we speak now, the Nigeria Football Federation is the only federation that does not have a single board member on ground,” said Dalung in a statement.
He added: “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),” added Dalung.
He wondered why Mikel had to come in as the chief coach of the team, Samson Siasia in company of another official had come knocking on his door at about 4am Sao Paolo time.
“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. 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 Colombia.
“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,” Dalung stated..