The Nigerian men’s soccer team has been training for the Olympics in Atlanta since July 3. Apparently, the Super Eagles will be there a little longer than they hoped.
According to multiple reports, the Nigerians had hoped to fly to Brazil on Friday but a “logistical mix-up” with the operators of their charter aircraft has left them stranded in Georgia. WGCL in Atlanta reports that they will depart Wednesday, putting them in Brazil with little time to spare before their opener against Japan on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET in Manaus, an isolated city in the Amazon rainforest.
“The Nigerian government [sports ministry] is responsible for booking the tickets for the team to travel, but we heard there is a logistical mix-up with payments,” a source close to the Nigeria Football Federation told BBC Sport. “The money paid by the ministry for the charter flight did not hit airline’s account on Tuesday, so they refused to fly the team to Brazil.”
At issue, according to the BBC’s source, is the time needed for the money to go through different bank accounts and currency conversions. One of the players told the BBC that he and his teammates had been told to prepare for departure “since last week,” but they still haven’t left.
Nigerian soccer has been roiled by financial issues of late. National team coach Sunday Oliseh quit in February, citing a host of problems related to team pay:
Samson Siasia, who replaced Oliseh and will coach Nigeria in the Olympics, then said a few weeks ago that the country’s soccer federation had not paid him for the previous five months.