Sports

Nigeria’s Atlanta ’96 Olympics player, Obiekwu, turns taxi driver

A member of Atlanta ’96 Olympics Nigerian Golden Dream Team, Kingsley Obiekwu, says he now uses his only car for commercial transport to sustain his family.

Obiekwu, Member of the Order of Niger (MON), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Awka.

The veteran, who played for Rangers International FC, Enugu and Udoji United in his days, said he went into transport business to sustain his family.

The former defender noted that things had not been rosy since he returned to Nigeria in 2008, in spite of his contributions to the development of Nigeria’s football.

According to Obiekwu, who now coaches INGAS FC, Enugu, he has to combine the coaching job with commercial transport business to make ends meet.

He stated that his former employees were owing him over N6 million cumulatively.

“Yes, I am a commercial transporter; there is nothing to hide about it. Man has to do what is legal to pay his family bills.

“I have four children at Enugu State University of Technology and my last child is in primary five.

“I have coached Rangers International FC, Ifeanyi Ubah FC, Delta Force FC, Asaba, Giant Brila and also Union Sportif, Krake, Republic of Benin. All of them are owing me,” Obiekwu said.

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He expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which some employers were owing their workers backlog of salaries in the country.

“I am disappointed with the setup in Nigeria. How can employers be owing you and nobody is saying or doing anything about it? It’s frustrating. Even my home state, Delta, has refused to pay me.

“I can’t steal; I can’t do fraud; I can’t do money rituals. So, I have to do what is legal and possible, for me to take care of my family.

“If I can get this N6 million, I won’t be in this mess.

“I also go to Lagos to bring in new cars for people and they pay me. You know in Nigeria, when you retire, there’s no pension, no gratuity.”

Obiekwu said that he was unable to secure an NPFL coaching job with the pro- licence certificate he obtained in UK “because they demanded CAF grade A or grade B certificate.”

He also expressed the regret that some of the promises made to them after their victorious return from Atlanta 26 years ago had yet to be fulfilled.

This, the veteran footballer said, included the plots of land promised by Delta and Niger governments.

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