Ex Nigeria player, Etim urges Super Eagles to beat Angola for Okwaraji in AFCON quarter-final

 Former Super Eagles player Etim Esin has urged the current national team to defeat Angola in Friday’s AFCON quarterfinal in Ivory Coast in honour of the late Sam Okwaraji.

Ex Nigeria player, Etim urges Super Eagles to beat Angola for Okwaraji in AFCON quarter-final

Okwaraji collapsed and died on August 12 in Lagos while playing against Angola in a 1990 World Cup qualifier.


Okwaraji, 25, collapsed inside the main bowl of the National Stadium in Lagos with 10 minutes remaining in the Italia 1990 qualifier, and while Nigeria gained a hard-fought 1-0 victory, the talented player died.

Five supporters died on the same day that they jammed the 40,000-capacity stadium, filling it roughly 20,000 times over, leaving approximately 4,000 others left outside.

With the Eagles poised to meet the Palancas Negras in the 2023 AFCON quarterfinals after overcoming Cameroon 2-0 in the round of 16 on Saturday, Esin, Okwaraji’s fellow midfielder on the day, challenged Jose Peseiro’s team to overcome the Angolans in memory of the midfield master.


“Sam was my roommate. The thought of not seeing him again didn’t cross our minds. It’s really sad, and it’s been so hard for me to forget about him because I was on the field with him that day. We had a dream for the 1990 World Cup, but it’s unfortunate because his death took away those dreams,” Esin said.

“I want the Eagles to beat Angola in their next game on Friday in memory of the late Okwaraji because it will mean a lot. That same year, we defeated Cameroon before facing Angola, and the boys did the same by beating Cameroon 2-0 in Abidjan. I hope they will beat Angola by at least 1-0, the same scoreline with which we defeated them 35 years ago.

“We know the Angolans can be dangerous, but the Eagles just need to win the game.”

Okwaraji made his Super Eagles debut in 1988 and competed in the African Cup of Nations in Morocco, where he scored one of the championship’s fastest goals against Cameroon in the second minute.

He helped the Super Eagles go to the final, where they lost to Cameroon by a single goal.

Okwaraji, a licenced lawyer with a Masters in International Law from Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, was known for paying his own travel to Super Eagles games and refusing to accept allowances from the then-FA.Etim

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