Etim Esin, a former Super Eagles Midfielder, expressed sadness that Nigerians have forgotten the sacrifice of the late former Samuel Okwaraji, who died in the national colors on August 12. This year’s memorial marked the 32nd anniversary of the player’s demise.
How did Samuel Okwaraji?
During a World Cup qualifier against Angola at the Mainbowl of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, the late Okwaraji had slumped and died of congestive heart failure. The match was later played, Nigeria emerged as the winner through a late header by Stephen Keshi.
Why is Erin Esin displeased?
In his interview with the Guardian Newspaper yesterday, Esin said he sees no reason why a memorial could not be organized for a player who showed passion playing for his country. He added that a candlelight procession to mark his death would serve as a source of encouragement to upcoming youth from his exemplary life playing for the nation.
Highlights of Facts about Okwaraji by Etim Esin
Okwaraji was a complete package as a footballer with a Law degree from the University of Rome. He was the only player with a University Education in the Eagles team, and was a friendly person.
His nickname was Nigeria’s Maradona. He, along with Etim, was the most determined player of the squad with so much determination that Nigeria must qualify for the World Cup.
The Aftermath of His death
Etim disclosed that as soon as Okwaraji died out of fear, some players did not travel with the troop. They were scared they would turn out dead like Okwaraji.
Etim said he doesn’t blame the current young players who want to play for foreign countries because the grass is indeed greener on the other side.
He cited John Fashanu as an example; he said John still collects benefits from the player’s union because he wore the Three Lions shirt.
His Attempt to immortalize Okwaraji
In his interview, he said he has tried to talk to an ex-player in the Government, but he is never ready. Even though he wasn’t on their team, he still should be able to arrange something courtesy of the presidency that is a fair price for a late colleague who died sacrificing everything for this country.
Samuel Okwaraji died on the 12th day of August; Esin still remembers this day and feels the Nigerian Government had not made plans to immortalize the great player.
In addition, he said If only Okwaraji was European, things could have been different because they value their patriotic citizens.