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Golden Moments In Sports -Samuel Okwaraji’s Death: The Myth Vs The Truth

A tactical team up of Samuel Okwaraji and Rashidi Yekini is probably Nigeria’s most technical forward lineup in history.

Both players were a huge force to reckon with in their day, making the then Super Eagles squad totally invincible.

It is, however, very heartbreaking that Nigeria never got to fully experience the fullness of the blazing forward, Okwaraji.

Today, only those born before and in the early 90’s would remember Okwaraji for who he truly was to our football history.

Others may even recall the name as a myth, while to other, the name is foreign.

The Myth

It was popular opinion that Okwaraji died in a match against India, after scoring the only goal for Nigeria.

The Indians had scored 99 goals, and before their 100th, they agreed that if Nigeria could score just one goal, they would concede defeat.

No one from the Nigerian team could confidently kick the ball because each time they tried it turned into a lion or a boulder, but Okwaraji risked everything and scored Nigeria’s lone goal of the encounter, losing his life in the process.

FIFA supposedly banned India from international football for using black magic against Nigeria.

As preposterous as this story is, it made the rounds across the nation, forming the basis for what many believed to be Okwaraji’s heroic sacrifice. 

The Truth

The only truth in the myth is that Okwaraji really died while in action for the Nigerian men’s senior team.

Okwaraji died on August 12, 1989, during a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Angola.

The Nigerian collapsed in the 77th minute after suffering a cogestive heart failure. All attempts to revive him failed.

An autopsy report revealed that the player had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

Featured image source: ACLSports

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Achem Samuel

Achem Samuel is a writer and a musician, he is passionate about God and also an ardent fan of tech, sports and music.

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