A Japanese plastic surgeon, Dr Katsuya Takasu will be delivering $390,000 to Nigeria’s Dream Team VI, as reward for the team’s winning of bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
Nigeria’s U-23 team beat Honduras 3-2 for the bronze today.
Raphael Kibe, Charge d’affaires of the Nigerian embassy in Tokyo broke the news of the donation in a letter dated 18 August.
He said Takasu, who travelled to Brazil to watch the match, will give Coach Samson Siasia $200,000, while John Mikel Obi will collect $190,000 on behalf of the team.
The money has been handed over to the team.
The donation became a subject of controversy today, when former Nigerian goalkeeper, Idah Peterside, accused the officials of the Nigerian Football Federation of planning to hijack the gift.
But later he tweeted that the surgeon will be handing over the money directly to the team and the coach.
In its reaction, the NFF blasted Idah and accused him of mischief.
According to a statement by the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick posted on the NFF website, “His message was a lie, an atrocious false alarm before an important match.
“I had exchanged correspondence with the Honourable Minister on the issue of the donation and we agreed that there was need for caution.
“The minister said to me that he read the donation in the papers and had expressed serious concern. I also received a mail from the NFF Integrity Officer who expressed very serious concern with this kind of donation.
“I got in touch with the Ambassador of Nigeria to Brazil and the Honourable Minister to say that whatever had to be done should be done after the bronze medal match to avoid any distractions.
“The NFF may be having financial challenges, but I assure you nobody in the Federation is interested in that money.
“If we get the government’s go-ahead to collect the money, no official of the NFF will be involved even in the collection.
“The money will be received directly by the team,’’ Pinnick was quoted as saying.
Katsuya, the donor was born on 22 January 22, 1945 in Isshiki, Aichi, Japan. He is a plastic surgeon based in Tokyo.