THE Minister of Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has apologised to players and officials of Nigeria’s Olympic football team for the challenges they faced, leading to their late arrival in Brazil for the Rio Olympics.
Dalung apologised to the players and officials after watching the Dream Team VI defeat Sweden in Manaus on Sunday to reach the quarter finals of the tournament, according to a statement by the Spokesperson of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ademola Olajire, on Monday.
Dalung, a conspicuous presence in the stands as the 1996 champions pipped Europe’s best team Sweden in Manaus on Sunday night to reach the tournament quarter –finals with a game to spare, tendered his apology in the dressing room after the game at the Arena Amazonia.
“I want to apologise for all the circumstances that led to your late arrival here. I apologise because I am the head and as such I must take responsibility for anything that happens under my watch,” Dalung was quoted as saying after exchanging pleasantries with the victorious players.
“I’m happy you all have put the unfortunate incident behind you and have shown that you are true heroes by making the country proud with your qualification for the quarter finals. This qualification is unique as you guys are the first team to do so in the football event.”
He said lessons had been learnt from the event and assured the players and officials that all bonuses and allowances due to them would be paid.
The team captain, Mikel Obi, was quoted as assuring Dalung that the team would not lose focus as their target was to win the gold medal for Nigeria.
Dalung watched the match in company with Nigeria’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Brazil, Adamu Emozozo, and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa.