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By Nehi Igbinijesu. For many football lovers 12 August, 1989 was a day to look forward to. It was a day when Nigeria would commence its qualification bid for the 1990 World Cup at the National Stadium, Surulere.  According to the Confederation for African Football (CAF), attendance was put at an estimated 100,000 people. And our opponents were the Palanca Negras of Angola. The game which kicked-off at 4 O’Clock had been extremely tight with both teams showing superlative competence in midfield and defense.  It wasn’t until the 44th minute that Super Eagles’ skipper, Stephen Keshi found the back of the net via a massive build up from our very own dreadlocked midfield maestro, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji. The Angolan National team stole the show in the second half in desperate search for an equalizer to no avail.  Then, in a flash, ten minutes from the end of the game, Samuel collapsed on the pitch to the utter dismay and shock of the crowd. He was pronounced dead shortly after. An autopsy conducted showed that he had died of an enlarged heart.  

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This article was first published on 19th September 2012

Comments (3)

3 thoughts on “DISCOVER NIGERIA: The Day Sam Okwaraji Died!”

  • Way younger growing up someone told me we played against an Indian side it was almost the end of the game that he died, i even heard one story that said the Indian people Jazzed him.

  • I heard about this story too when I was growing up. its such a pity. samuel did not fully enjoy the fruit of his labour. such is life.
    tribute to the greatest hero.

  • Well, this life can be funny. l was right in stadium that very day. God bless his soul he really a talented and gifted player but man propose when God knows dispose. Long live sam okwaraji our greatest midfield maestro of all time.

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