Former Super Eagles Head Coach Samson Siasia lamented on Monday that raising some 250,000 Euros (about N83 million) to facilitate his appearance at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to defend his match-fixing allegation has proved difficult.
Siasia made the announcement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, ahead of the March 19 hearing at CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It will be recalled that FIFA handed a lifetime ban on Siasia, 52, in August, 2019 for alleged match-fixing.
Following the ban, the two-time coach of the Super Eagles said that he would challenge FIFA’s verdict at CAS to prove his innocence.
“Banning me for match-fixing is a mistake. I really need people to hear my side of the story, that is why I’m crying to Nigerians to say look, let me defend myself.
“I have come a long way not to talk of messing things up at this level. My discussion and correspondence with that man called Wilson Teruma was all about a getting a job.
“It’s been very difficult. This is the only thing I know how to do. I started from a very early age and I have never done anything else, how do I get income without doing my job?
“The only thing I probably should be doing is being an ambassador to sports bets companies, but I cannot,’’ he said.
The hearing of Siasia’s appeal will come up on March 19 and the former coach would need a whopping 250,000 Euros to file his appeal at CAS.
He called on well-meaning Nigerians to come to his rescue and help him in whatever capacity they could to enable him file his appeal.
“ There is this stereotype about Nigerians. It’s like assuming that all Nigerian policemen are bad. Please I didn’t do this. Please do not leave me alone at this crucial time.
“There has being lots of positive response, but the amount of money I need to file for my appeal is not enough. I’d like to appreciate everyone that has been with me since it all began. Thank you.
“This will eventually pass. I love my country and I have given it my best.
“I wish this never happened to me, but I believe that at the end of the day I will be cleared of these allegations,’’ the former head coach stated.
Siasia was a 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winner with the Super Eagles in Tunisia.
He also played in Nigeria’s maiden appearance at the USA `94 World Cup, where he scored a goal against a Diego Maradona-led Albiceleste of Argentina.
The former striker played over 50 times for Nigeria, scoring 16 goals.
As a coach he led Nigeria’s U-20 and U-23 sides to continental successes in 2005 and 2015, respectively.
He also guided the U-20s to a runner-up finish at the 2005 World Youth Championships (as it was then known) in the Netherlands.
Siasia is the most decorated African football coach at the Olympics, winning silver at the Beijing Games in 2008 and bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio.