The Tunisia 1994 Nigerian glorious team depletes with the passing away of Uche Okafor, Rashidi Yekini, Thompson Oliha and Wilfred Agbonavbare
It seems death follows the trail of former Nigerian footballer personalities in the New Year with two deaths already recorded in one week.
First it was former coach of the national U-17, U-20 and ex-assistant coach at the senior national team, Musa Abdullahi who gave up to stroke on Sunday and two days later, 1994 Nations Cup winning member, Wilfred Agbonavbare.
Agbonavbare becomes the fourth member of that glorious to have passed away, and albeit, through unnatural causes.
1. Uche Okafor: the 6 ft 3 defender played for Nigeria between 1988-1998 where he featured in two World Cup tournaments and two Nations Cups in 1988 and 1994. He died in suspicious allegation of murder on January 6, 2011, in Texas, aged 48; after he was found hang-loose in his home
2. Rashidi Yekini: Tunisia 1994 goal king was said to have been through spiritual torment following reports that he was mentally disturbed, chasing away every tenant at his Ibadan home, acting derailed and violent towards people. He died on May 4, 2012 in Ibadan at age 48.
3. Thompson Oliha: 31 times capped for Nigeria in an injury laden career, he debuted for Nigeria in against Senegal in 1990. He could only stay active from 1985 to 1996 for both club and country. He died on June 30, 2013 in Ilorin following bouts of complications from malaria. He was aged 45
4. Wilfred Agbonavbare: The shocking death of the goalkeeper threw the Nigerian football sphere into a dim light on Tuesday, January 26 2015 after battle with Cancer at age 48. Popularly called the ‘Flying Cat’, he was part of the country’s squad to four Nations Cup tournaments. He is the first Goalkeeper to qualify Nigeria to its first international football competition; the 1983 U-20 World Cup.
Like the other deaths, Wilfred passing away was received with sadness from the NFF and Nigerian internationals.