- Samuel Okwaraji died at the age of 25 after he collapsed on the pitch while playing for Nigeria
- The talented midfielder wore Super Eagles' number 6 shirt before his career was cut short
- NFF has confirmed its readiness to implement proposals to retire the jersey in honour of the late player
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Samuel Okwaraji reportedly collapsed ten minutes from the end of a World Cup qualifier against the Palancras Negras of Angola at the national stadium Surulere, Lagos on August 12, 1989.
The day remains the darkest in the history of Nigerian football as the 25-year-old died from what medical officials described as an enlarged heart and high blood pressure, following his collapse on the pitch.
Nigerians have continued to clamour for the player to be honoured even 31 years after he passed on - and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick has stated that the jersey number 6 worn by the late player would be retired.
“Somebody made that proposal to us about retiring that shirt; I think it would not be too much for us to do that,” Pinnick said to renowned Sports journalist Mitchell Obi on a live radio program Sports Salsa.
“I will now forward the proposal to my executive committee for us to implement because it has been said already; for us to see how we can implement retiring that shirt.”
NFF boss also recounted the occurrence branding it as ‘tragic’, further stating that Okwaraji expressed dexterity, and most importantly, love for his country.
Pinnick said he was privileged to be in the stands on that day as it remains fresh in his memory even though he was barely 18 at that time.
“Coincidentally, I was right there inside the stadium that fateful day. I recall when he was taken out of the stadium; nobody thought he was going to pass.
“I was barely 18 and when we came out after the game I was looking for my brother, he was busy, he was running from one place to another because we went together.
"Then later he whispered to me that he (Okwaraji) had passed. It was a very tragic moment for everybody.
“Okwaraji displayed dexterity, maturity, patriotism most importantly for his country. He loved the country so much. It is just very sad that he had to leave. It’s quite unfortunate. That event is still very fresh because I was right there in the stadium,” Pinnick concluded.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Janet Okwaraji, the mother of late Nigerian international Samuel Okwaraji, died at the age of 83.
The announcement was made on Sunday, June 7, 2020 by her son Patrick and was also confirmed by Ekwem Bizmark who claimed she was his aunty.
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