Sports Minister Solomon Dalung has apologised to the national Under-23 team for the circumstances which led to their late arrival in Brazil for the men’s football event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Dalung, who watched from the stands as 1996 champions Nigeria beat Sweden 1-0 in Manaus on Sunday to reach the 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,” the minister was quoted by thenff.com as saying on Monday.
“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 added, “I want to assure you that we appreciate your efforts, and I want to say that it’s when a man faces challenges that his true ability is tested. I am sure we all have learnt our lessons and will take the lessons to heart going forward.”
Dalung assured the team that the bonuses and allowances due to them would be paid.
The captain of the team Mikel Obi promised Dalung that the team would not lose focus. According to the Team Nigeria captain, their target is to win gold in Rio.