Extra cash 'gift' for Nigerian team to be flown to Rio

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport, Nigeria
Nigeria's Olympic team in Rio
Nigeria's Olympic team in Rio

A benefactor is flying to Rio to hand $200,000 (£153,500) to the Nigerian Olympic team, in addition to his promise to pay a $30,000 (£23,000) bonus to each player if they win gold.

Japanese plastic surgeon Katsuya Takasu wants to reward the team after hearing about their financial difficulties.

He will pay them $20,000 (£15,350) for silver and $10,000 (£7,680) for bronze.

Takasu told BBC Sport the $200,000 "is a special donation" and "it is better to deliver it to the team personally".

He added: I've made previous donations to a Japanese hockey team and other notable causes in the past but this right now with Nigeria is incredibly passionate for me.

"I am deeply determined to motivate this indomitable and strong Nigerian team. I don't want to distract them but to push them further to their target - the gold in Brazil.

"I hope to see them win gold. They've sacrificed a lot to get to Brazil and reach the semi-finals. Humans with such a strong spirit should be encouraged to perform beyond their own imagination."

Japanese plastic surgeon Katsuya Takasu (left)
Japanese plastic surgeon Katsuya Takasu (left) with his "special donation" to the Nigerian team in Rio

The Samson Siasia-led Nigeria team will face Germany in the semi-final on Wednesday and they will be without their top scorer with four goals - Ogenekaro Etebo - because of injury.

Before arriving in Rio, the 'Dream Team VI' were held up in Atlanta, USA, because of a problem with the payment for their flight.

The 1996 Olympic champions only landed in Brazil just hours before their opening 5-4 win over Japan.

Nigeria had a troubled build-up to their 2-0 quarter-final victory against Denmark in Salvador last weekend - the players boycotted a training session in a dispute over pay.

"I read about the financial problems affecting the team and I felt the need to make a big contribution," Takasu told BBC Sport.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are impressed by Takasu's offers but are being careful.

"I have been in direct contact with Mr Takasu and impressed by his gesture," NFF vice-president Seyi Akinwunmi told BBC Sport.

"But we need not get carried away because the integrity of the country is at stake.

"First we must check about this. Significantly, the team has an important game and we need to focus on that."

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Olympic team have now received their camp allowances from the government, according to the team's media officer Timi Ebikagboro.

"The sports ministry has cleared all camp allowances of the team in Brazil.

"Players and officials have now been paid 22 days allowances," said Ebikagboro.