Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji slumped on the field of play while featuring for the then, Green Eagles in an Italia 90 World Cup qualifier against Palancras Negras of Angola and died shortly after.
That is the short story of a gifted footballer who combined education and his football talent. He had two Masters degrees and died in active service for his fatherland.
He died a hero and was one of the few footballers who paid their air fares to and fro Nigeria and their bases. That was how patriotic Okwaraji was. He loved the green and white colours and shirt of Nigeria. He loved his country.
Immortalising him has been a major headache for our sports administrators. But the utility midfielder had already immortalised himself in the hearts of football loving Nigerians especially those who witnessed his games and era.
His colleagues or teammates have not forgotten and will not forget August 12, 1989.
It keeps re-echoing and resonating in their minds particularly when that day rolls in just like today.
The sad memories of that fateful day inside the mainbowl of the National stadium, Surulere, Lagos flashes into their minds with heavy and deep pains even as they wish to forget it.
Okwaraji’s beloved mother Mrs. Janet Okwaraji passed on recently to join her son after years of suppressed grief, sorrow and pains.
Today is 31 years that the great eagle flew to the great beyond. He is remembered as always.
Rest on legend!