Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has hailed the U-23 team, for their victory against Japan, on their first Group B fixture of men’s football at the 2016 Olympics.
Despite arriving Manaus barely seven hours before the game, Samson Siasia’s boys put up a fine performance, to defeat the Asian champions.
“I heartily congratulate the national U-23 football team for their outstanding 5-4 victory over Japan in their opening Group B game,” Dalung wrote on his Twitter page few minutes after game.
“The Dream Team have showed resilience in the face of adversity, demonstrated patriotism and team work and the can do spirit that Nigerians are known for globally.
“I urge them them to put aside what happened in Atlanta behind them and focus on the challenges ahead.
“The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari is proud of your achievement this morning and will continue to support you as you seek to relive the 1996 feat.”
The Dream Team VI face Sweden in their next match.
Same Minister of Youth and Sports Development,Dalung, who is now haling the team had disassociated himself and the Federal Government from the pretournament camping trip to the USA embarked upon by the Dream Team ahead of the Olympic Games.
Dalung, who surprisingly described the trip as a human trafficking venture maintained that his ministry and by extension the Federal Government knew nothing about the trip.
He insisted that the team’s suffering and threat to throw them out of hotel in US was news to him.
“We don’t know who took them there and what their mission is. Were you told that they informed the ministry when they were travelling to US?
“So, before you ask us to account for something, you should be sure that we are aware of the situation in the first place.
“There are very serious instances of people approaching us requesting for visas to travel when they are not going for anything that has to do with the federation. They want to traffic Nigerians. If somebody has a birthday of his friend and he moves his team to play for him, you cannot compel me to account for them.’
“If they have thrown them out of the hotel, they should know who took them there. So, what is happening in USA is a story to me.”