The Minister of Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, on Monday apologised to players and officials of Nigeria U23 Olympic football team, the Dream team VI, for the many challenges they faced ahead of their late arrival for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The under-fire Sports Minister tendered his apology in the dressing room after watching the Samson Siasia-led side defeat Sweden 1-0 in Manaus on Sunday to progress to the quarter finals of the tournament, Vanguard writes.
“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 in a statement by the Spokesperson of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ademola Olajire.
“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.”
While recalling that the players faced similar challenges on their way to lifting the African Championship in Senegal, Dalung stated that lessons had been learnt from the turn of events, and he further 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 the Minister that the team would not lose focus as their target was to win the gold medal for Nigeria.
Dalung watched the match in the company of Nigeria’s Ambassador to Brazil, Adamu Emozozo, and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa.