Supporters club contributed to Nigeria’s bronze medal victory in Rio, says Ladipo

President- General of Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, has called on governments at all levels to pay attention to the grassroots, where a lot of talented youths reside.

President- General of Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, has called on governments at all levels to pay attention to the grassroots, where a lot of talented youths reside.

President General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, has said that his members deserve kudos for propelling players of the Nigeria U-23 team to their bronze medal victory at the just concluded Rio Olympic Games.

The coach Samson Siasia-led Dream Team defeated Honduras 3-2 in Belo Horizonte in their third place match to register Nigeria’s name on the medals table.Since the team’s return from Rio, it has been a series of controversies between the coach and NFF on one side, and the NFF and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, on the other side concerning the team’s preparation for the Games.

Speaking with The Guardian in Lagos, Ladipo said the bronze medal would have eluded Nigeria if he and members of the Supporters Club had not deemed it fit to go to Brazil. “It is not good to overblow one’s trumpet, but at the same time, it is good for people to put the record straight so that Nigerians, who were not privileged to travel to Rio for the Olympic Games, will know the role we played in the bronze medal victory. It was a bronze medal, but we decided to call it a golden bronze because without it, perhaps, everything would have been upside down by now.

“When we discovered that Team Nigeria was not going to win any medal in Rio, we decided to embark on the journey to Brazil despite various challenges from several quarters. I went with 15 members from Nigeria to join our members who are based in Sao Paulo.

“We inaugurated the Sao Paulo branch of the Supporters Club before the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. On getting to Sao Paulo, we left immediately for Belo Horizonte, a journey of about nine hours, and we arrived in the morning of the day of the third place match. The Brazilians were very happy to see us, and they joined us in singing and dancing before, during and after the game. The coaches and the players were so excited when we started beating our drums, and it propelled them throughout the duration of the match.

“The point I am trying to make is that the supporters club always has a major role to play during major games, and we did it perfectly in Rio,” Ladipo stated.Meanwhile, Ladipo has insisted that the hiring of a foreign coach for the Super Eagles is unnecessary, but added that the Supporters Club would always rally round the team for the players to give their best for the country.



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