Former Super Eagles’ Manager, Samson Siasia, is getting set to jet out to Switzerland for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing on his appeal against FIFA’s ‘unjust’ decision to ban him from all football activities for life.
FIFA banned Siasia for life in 2019 for allegedly agreeing to “receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.”
The 52-year-old then filed an appeal on August 27 to clear his name from the ‘unjust’ decision by the world football ruling body.
He insists he has never been involved in match-fixing and “would never be a party to any form of unethical conduct or perversion in the discharge of my duties in any capacity.”
FIFA did not provide the details of the matches involved in its investigations into Siasia, who managed the Super Eagles between 2010 and 2011 and for a spell in 2016, as well coaching the country at under-20 and under-23 sides.
CAS was supposed to hear the case on March 19, 2020, but it postponed the hearing due to the ravaging Coronavirus.
As part of the conditions for revisiting the case, Siasia is expected to pay the 250, 000 euros required to convene the court in Zurich, Switzerland.
Siasia said that “CAS has expressed its desire to end the case this year. We expect that any time from now, they will fix the new date for the hearing.”
On why he did not opt for the virtual hearing option as done by some other organisations that have issues with FIFA and CAS, Siasia said he wants to be physically present to plead his case and prove that he is being unjustly punished.
“I don’t want to believe that I will be treated this way just because I am black and have nobody to speak for me. Otherwise, I don’t know how some people can ban me for life from football without making efforts to hear from me.
“I believe God is on my side because I am being falsely punished. I am a winner. Whether as a player or a coach, I always strive to win because I hate losing.
“Now for anybody to accuse me of trying to fix a match, make my team lose, is preposterous.”
While Siasia is getting ready for the call from Zurich, he is also still trying to complete the fees needed for the hearing.
“I have to come up with more than N83 million because apart from the money I must pay to CAS, I am also to pay my lawyers and arrange for logistics for our movement to Zurich.
“Look at me, an African Nations Cup winner, a former national team coach and an Olympian finding it difficult to raise money to prove my case.
“Football is the only trade I know. Stopping me from the game is like cutting off my head. I really need people to hear my side of the story, that is why I am 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. 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,” Siasia said.