Sam Okwaraji on this day 30 years ago, slumped on the pitch during a world cup qualifier in Lagos and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Okwaraji’s death gripped Nigeria and left the football-crazed nation stunned at the loss of a rising star.
Among the many things he will be remembered for was a famous quote about his allegiance to country over club.
I am a Lawyer you know and signed to play football for certain conditions but I don’t think it included reselling my service to my country. You or your club cannot stop me from playing for my country. Let me tell you, I am going to represent my country whether you like it or not.
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) August 12, 2019
Many on this day continue to pay tribute to the memory of the former player.
I was privileged to spend time with Okwaraji. He was the regular NT roommate of former @NGSuperEagles, @FCDGalicia and @KSCLokeren ‘keeper, Peter “Dodo Mayana” Rufai – very pleasant and intelligent chap. Easy to have a conversation with.
— Osasu Obayiuwana (@osasuo) August 12, 2019
Worth mentioning that Okwaraji was also a professional lawyer as he graduated from Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. He was a youth team player for @ASRomaPidgin before joining Dinamo Zagreb. YouTube doesn’t have enough of clips of him but he was the best dribbler at his time https://t.co/72sYKpaNZA
— Daniele (@EdenDassidy) August 12, 2019
Samuel Okwaraji played for #Nigeria at the 1988 Olympic Games and the 1988 AFCON in Morocco.
The midfielder collapsed after a cardiac arrest on the pitch.
Lagos stadium ambulance 🚑 failed to start.
Death was announced later that night.
His Mother abandoned😢
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) August 12, 2019