– John Mikel Obi says he paid more than £30,000 to help the Dream Team
– The Olympics Team captain reveals that the NFF neglected the footballers
– The Dream Team went onto win bronze after defeating Honduras 3 – 2
– Mikel Obi reveals he and Samson Siasia funded the team during Rio Olympics
John Mikel Obi has revealed that he was forced to pay more than [£30,000] from his pocket to help Nigeria’s U-23 team during the Rio Olympics.
The Dream Team defeated Honduras 3 – 2 in a third place match to win Bronze which was Nigeria’s only medal at the 2016 Olympic games.
Mikel Obi, who helped out with travel arrangement, meals and booking training pitches, also slammed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
“I think if we talk about the money that I put into the team I think it was more than [£30,000],” Mikel told Goal.
“But we just had to do it. I said to myself, ‘I won’t let this happen. If I can help, I’ll try to help’. Sometimes there was no food, sometimes there was no pitch to train on, there was no bus to go to the training ground. So all of this was what me and the coach had to figure out, and get money together.
“I came to the camp. I sat down with the boys in Atlanta and I could see the frustration, the pain and the anger. Their aim was to play in the Olympics, their goal was to play in the Olympics.
“And for me being there and seeing what they are going through, they are young boys, they want to start their career and someone in the ministry is trying to crush that dream.”
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Mikel Obi also discussed the issue of being stranded in Atlanta and getting to the Brazil just five hours before the first game against Japan: “There was just no flight provided by the Nigerian ministry.
“We planned to leave three or four days before the tournament, but we ended up leaving the day of our first game. It was a difficult one. I don’t think I have ever seen something like that before, it was crazy.
“After our last minute flight, we got to the hotel, dropped our bags, grabbed some sandwiches, something to eat. A little bit of food. Then headed straight back to the stadium because we hadn’t even done our accreditations then, so we had to go there and wait in the line, do our accreditation.
“It was absolutely hectic. I don’t know how we managed to go onto the pitch and win that game, it was absolutely mind blowing.”
Despite the troubles faced by the team, Siasia’s boys did the nation proud by winning bronze medal – Nigeria’s only medal at the games.
The Dream Team defeated Honduras 3 – 2 in a third place match played at the Maracana stadium.
Meanwhile, Siasia, who recently won bronze with Nigeria’s U-23 team at the 2016 Olympics, said he is “done” working for Nigeria after feeling neglected by the NFF before and during the Rio games.
Japanese surgeon Takasuya Takasu handed a cheque of $390,000 to the Dream Team’s skipper John Obi Mikel and Samson Siasia as an appreciation for them to have won bronze medal at the Olympics despite the serious challenges they went through prior to the start of the championship.