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In August 12, 1989, the Super Eagles of Nigeria had a World Cup qualifying match against the Antelopes of Angola at the National Stadium, Lagos. At the second half of the encounter, exactly at 77 minutes of the match, Sam Okwaraji – a US-based lawyer cum footballer – who was in the mid field playing for Nigeria, slumped. He was later certified dead after he was rushed to the hospital by the stadium medical personnel.

Etim Esin, former Super Eagles midfielder like Okwaraji, had, before the match, charged the national team to beat Angola in the AFCON quarter final in the memory of the late Sam. And that they did by beating the high scoring Angolans 1-0 which was what they did in that day Okwaraji, 25, slumped and died. Five people died same day due to stamped. As a football nation, the 40,000-capacity stadium was filled with extra nearly 20,000. Thus about 4,000 others were allegedly stranded outside.

So going down the memory lane, we mourn the demise of the midfield maestro but looking at the outcome of the match, we celebrate the 1-0 victory as a sweet revenge and a message to the late Sam that the Super Eagles remembered and honoured him.

In far away France from his ‘resting place’, President Tinubu put some call across to the players before the encounter. In the video, he was seen wearing the shirt the team wore in the last match. It was his son, Seyi, that shared the video. He allegedly encouraged the team to defeat their opponents.

Atiku Abubakar also sent congratulatory message to the team. ”Congratulations to our Super Eagles on a well-deserved win.” – AA

Labour Party Presidential candidate in the last presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, was with the fans in the popular stand – cheering the players to victory.

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