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With Just Over 24 Hours Until Their First Olympic Match, The Nigerian Team Is Stuck In Atlanta

The Nigerian men’s soccer team has been training for the Olympic tournament in Atlanta for the last month. Now, with less than 36 hours before their first match against Japan in Manaus, the Nigerian team remains in their Atlanta hotel.

According to the BBC, an unpaid flight bill resulted in the airline refusing to take the team to Brazil.

They were scheduled to depart Atlanta last Friday, however, the team has been left in limbo following a delay in the payment. 

“The money paid by the [sports] ministry for the charter flight did not hit airline’s account on Tuesday so they refused to fly the team to Brazil,” a BBC source reported.


According Nigerian journalist Colin Udoh, players are reluctant to speak about the delays for fear of reprisals from the federation.

An unnamed player told the BBC: “We’ve been told to get ready to fly out in a few hours but that’s been the story since last week.”

The latest issues in Nigeria’s Olympic campaign follow reports from Vanguard Newspaper that coach Samson Siasia has come under fire from the Sports Ministry for criticizing the poor preparation, and that star-player John Obi Mikel has been told by the ministry to assume control.

The journey from Atlanta to Brazil is just over nine hours long, ensuring that Nigeria will have little to no time for preparation should their match go ahead as scheduled. 

(H/T: Sports Illustrated

Follow me on Twitter: @ConmanFleming

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