Samuel Okwaraji: Nigeria’s Super Hero -By Jude Denis

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Those who were born on this day in 1989 will be 34 years of age today that means this 👇👇 beloved Nigerian who slumped and died on 12th August 1989 has been in the grave for 34years.

A lot has been said and written since his demise but here are 20 things you should still know about this extra patriotic Nigerian.

(1) He lost his father about the time he started Primary School.

(2) He was second to the last born in a family of 7 but was the bread winner.

(3) His mother was a Headmistress and borrowed to add to the money she saved to send Okwaraji to school in Europe.

(4) Sapienza University in Rome (Sapienza Universita di Roma) where he studied law was the best University in Italy and one of the best in Europe.

(5) He signed his first Professional Contract with AS Roma in 1984 at the age of 20 while still at the University.

(6) He was the first Nigerian to play professional football in both Austria and Germany.

(7) Okwaraji has Masters in International Law from Pontifical Lateren University Rome and was doing his PHD programme at the time of his death.

(8) K. Berchen FC of Antwerp, Belgium paid VFB Stuttgart the then record $450,000 to sign him.

(9) The dreadlock he spotted in both qualifying matches against Gabon and Angola was in emulation of his Idol Ruud Gullit who inspired Holland to Euro 88 with his dominant play.

(10) Okwaraji had been recommended to NFA officials when they went to Europe but didn’t take it serious till he came home for winter break in December 1987 and decided to drive to owerri from his village to train with Iwuanyanwu nationale, and after he mesmerized the players and officials in training,the team manager decided to take him to Eagles camp in Enugu where they were preparing to play Algeria in an
Olympic qualifier.

(11) He speaks five Languages: Italian, German, Spanish, English and of “ourse Igbo.

(12) He was on the verge of getting married to his fiancée who lives in Owerri when death came knocking.

(13) He first match at the National Stadium in Lagos was also his last.

(14) He received his last yellow card on earth from the Togolese referee in the 71st minutes of the match against Angola and slumped in the 77th minutes.

(15) The first player to get to him when he slumped was Samson Siasia followed by Etim Esin.

(16) The Ambulance at the national stadium refused to start and it took four ball boys and security men to push it to start and take Okwaraji to Ikeja General Hospital.

(17) Angus Ikeji the keeper that shared goalkeeping duties with Emeka Amadi at the Saudi 89 was one of the people that accompanied the ambulance to Hospital. He had earlier that morning visited Okwaraji in their hotel Camp.

(18) Okwaraji’s autopsy revealed he died of heart defect. The heart was enlarged cause enough blood was not pumping into it.

(19) NFA promised to retire the No 6 Jersey he wore on the day he died, but since then, players like Thompson Oliha, Taribo West, Joseph Enakhaire,Troost Ekong and Leon Balogun has worn it on Eagles’s matches.

(20 ) On the 20th anniversary of Okwaraji’s death in 2009 former Governor of Lagos State Raji Fashola unveiled a concrete bust of Samuel Okwaraji in the memorial garden in front of the National Stadium where he slumped and died.

HEIGHT OF PATRIOTISM
👇 👇 👇

When NFA chairman then, John Obakpolo went to his club SSV-ULM 1846 in Germany to seek his release for Seoul Olympics, the manager demanded $45,000 total of gate fees the club will lose because of his absence, Obakpalor was negotiating for $15,000 when Okwaraji charged into the office angrily and blasterred the manager with
these words: “I am a lawyer and you know it and I signed to play football for certain conditions, but I don’t think it includes re-selling my services to my country! Let me tell you, I’m going to represent my country whether you like it or not” With these words he stormed out of his coach’s office with a bewildered NFA Chairman.

What a 💯personality! Continue to rest in the ambience of the Lord.

The post Samuel Okwaraji: Nigeria’s Super Hero -By Jude Denis first appeared on Opinion Nigeria.

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