As far as hardworking midfielders come, there exists a singular personality who stands out in the Nigerian setting, supreme and committed: Samuel Okwaraji.
Okwaraji represented Nigeria for one year, becoming a mainstay in the Super Eagles team then. Even in an era when the country was spoilt got choice in midfield talent, it was he who stood out in the Super Eagles team.
Still, much of Okwaraji's fame lay in his exploits at club level, particularly for AS Roma, Dinamo Zagreb, Austria Klagenfurt, VfB Stuttgart, SSV Ulm and Kon Berchem Sport.
He was also a qualified lawyer who had a masters in international law from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.
Okwaraji's influence on the field of play was massive as he was a ball playing central midfielder. He picked up eight international caps for his country.
The former AS Roma star collapsed and died of congestive heart failure in the 77th minute of a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on 12 August 1989.
August 12th 1989 saw the end of a patriot who made Nigeria number one on his priority list. Nigeria failed to qualify for the World Cup after losing their key man to the cold hands of death.
31 years after his death, here is the statue of Samuel Okwaraji who died at the age of 25. See photos below.
May the labour of our heroes past never be in vain. Amen.
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