Olympic team star Segun Oduduwa was a year ago on the radar of several top clubs in Europe including Juventus, but today he is back home in Lagos, abandoned by his country and in desperate need of at least $100,000 for surgeries on a knee injury he suffered while training with the Rio Olympics-bound team.This is yet another pathetic case of a sportsman left to his own fate after putting his body and life on the line for Nigeria, while raising fundamental questions as regards insurance cover for the country’s athletes on national duty.
The highly-rated Nath Boys of Lagos central defender suffered a horrific left knee dislocation in training on May 26, 2016, just about the time the Dream Team VI were to fly out for a training camp in Atlanta, United States of America.
The 21-year-old Oduduwa spent about a month before the sports ministry will get him down to the Aspetar Hospital in Doha, Qatar.
After a five-month delay, his Anterior Cruciate Ligaments (ACL) were reconstructed at the hospital in Qatar at the cost of $30,000, which has yet to be paid.
His club were forced to send him a flight ticket to return home at the expiration of his visa and the non-payment of his bills, while he still requires another corrective surgery and rehabilitation, which will gulp about $70,000 in Qatar.
“I do not even have the words to really describe how I feel, it’s that bad,” Oduduwa lamented to SCORENigeria
“My career is in serious danger now even after I served Nigeria with everything I had.
“My club and I have done everything to save my career even though I suffered the injury in the national team.
“Coach Samson Siasia (coach of Olympic team Oduduwa played for) has severally met with officials, but there is no hope in sight.
“I have been abandoned to rot.”
It has been an anti-climax for the star defender, who was widely compared to another Nath Boys protégée Wilfred Ndidi, who now plays in the Premier League for Leicester City.
“Genk of Belgium and Juventus were interested in me and they were to watch me at the Olympics,” recounted a devastated Oduduwa, whose father is an 80-year-old pensioner.
“And even when I got injured they were still asking after me.”
SCORENigeria investigations revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) insist the Olympic team fell under the sports ministry and as such Oduduwa should be the full responsibility of the ministry.
It was further gathered that a memo on the subject has yet to be replied to by the NFF.