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Okwaraji Deserves National Recognition- Baruwa

Former Super Eagles Goal keeper Abiodun Baruwa is sad that twenty-six years after the death of Samuel Okwaraji at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos in a Nations Cup qualifying match against Angola, he is yet to be recognized by the Nigeria state.

August 12 makes the 26th anniversary since the death of Super Eagles dreadlocks midfielder Sam Okwaraji. Baruwa who witnessed the depressing scenes inside the main bowl of the National Stadium in Lagos as a teenager maintains that Okwaraji deserves a hero’s treatment for his service to the Country. ”

Firstly, its a bit emotional for me because that day I was in the Main Bowl, sitting up there watching, I was very young but I remember vividly what happened.

It was a sad situation but he’ll always be remembered as one of the best Midfielders that played for Nigeria.” “It is not late for Nigeria to recognize him by naming a national monument after him or better still institute a sports award in his honour. This way I believe he will continue to rest in peace .

Okwaraji collapsed in the 80th minute of a world Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos and died from congestive heart failure. An autopsy showed that the 25-year-old had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

The sudden death was similar to that of Marc-Vivien Foé 14 years later per wiki. Baruwa insists ex internationals should get support for the service to the Country. ” But the Country should support the ex players who gave their all, the likes of Rasheed Yekini and Okwaraji. They are heroes and we should treat them as such.”

-Chimaobi Uchendu

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