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Pulse List 2016 Top 5 most shocking deaths in Nigerian football

Football can also sometimes be a source of genuine sadness for things that happen on the pitch or off of it.

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Football is a game of passion that can spark the most gripping emotion in its ever faithful fan base.

While it can evoke the varied feeling of total happiness or utter frustration, it can also sometimes be a source of genuine sadness for things that happen on the pitch or off of it.

Nigerian football witnessed a few tragedies in 2016, and here are some of the saddest and most well-known:

1. Stephen Keshi


Stephen Keshi was the captain of the Super Eagles' 1994 African Cup of Nations winning side.

He played as a defender in a career that spanned 20 years and over 400 appearances for club and country.

Keshi enjoyed an even more distinguished career as manager, notably guiding the Togo national team to their first, and still only, World Cup appearance in Germany 2006. He was cruelly sacked before the finals though, after a disastrous AFCON campaign in Egypt.

He was appointed manager of the Mali national team but was fired in 2010 after a group stage elimination at AFCON.

The Big Boss, as he was fondly called, was finally handed the reins of the Nigerian national team in 2011 and he led the team to victory at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, a result that endeared him to Nigerian football lovers.

He won the African Coach of the Year award for this feat, as he is one of only two men to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and a coach.

He was also the first African coach to successfully qualify two African nations (Nigeria and Togo) to the World Cup Finals.

He led the country to a first knockout round finish at the 2014 World Cup losing out to France.

After going close to quitting the team on two separate occasions, Keshi finally left his position after his contract was not renewed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

In what came as a shocking news to the Nigerian football community, the Big Boss died of a heart attack in June 2016, aged just 54 years.

2. Shuaibu Amodu

Amodu Shuaibu play

Amodu Shuaibu


Even a casual follower of the Nigerian national team knew just who Shuaibu Amodu was.

The Benin-born former NFF Technical Director had a playing career as a striker when he played for Dumez and Niger Tournadoes before his career came to an end after he broke his leg in 1981.

He was more well-known to Nigerian football fans when he managed the Nigerian national team in 2001 before he was dismissed in 2002 after guiding the team to a bronze medal at the African Cup of Nations.

He coached the Eagles again in 2008 and was sacked again in 2010 after yet again another bronze medal at that year’s AFCON. He coached the Home-based Eagles for a while before returning as Eagles manager in 2014 for a short period before he was appointed again in 2015 as caretaker.

Most fans did not particularly enjoy Amodu’s brand of football, but he was admired for his laid back approach that always portrayed calmness on the touchlines.

Shuaibu Amodu tragically died on June 10, 2016 after a brief illness, a death that shocked the Nigerian football community.

3. Izu Joseph

Izu Joseph play

Izu Joseph

(Twitter/Shooting Stars )

The death of Shooting Stars defender, Izu Joseph in October was a particularly sad one.

While the 3SC centre back was on holiday after the conclusion of the 2015/16 NPFL season, he was reportedly hit by a stray bullet from men of the Joint Task Force (JTF).

Others have insisted that the player was shot dead by security men on operation at his home town of Okarki, Ahoada-West Local Government Area of Rivers; an allegation denied by  Brigadier General Hamisu Hassan who revealed that the defender was killed when a patrol team raided a cultist hideout at Okarki community.

The player’s death continues to generate a lot of debate as many questions remain unanswered.

4. Eweje Oladele

Eweje Oladele Micheal play

Eweje Oladele Micheal dies after surgery

(Facebook/Eweje Oladele Micheal )

This is another Shooting Stars players that died earlier this year in January.

The 22-year-old midfielder, who played for 3SC in the 2014/15 season before moving to Remo Stars during the mid-season finale.

His death was as a result of post-surgery complications after he had his appendix operated.

5. Paul Mimi Atedze 

Paul was a former Super Eagles defender who played under Nigerian coaches such as Amodu Shauibu and Samson Siasia.

The former Lobi Stars player died in October at the Benue State Teaching Hospital, Makurdi after he had battled illness for a short while.

The 29-year-old also played for the Ocean FC and Shooting Stars FC.

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