Professional football as a competitive sport has had its unfair share of tragedies over the years. It is both entertaining and dangerous especially on the field of play. The Nigerian sporting family witnessed one of the most horrific football tragedies on the 23rd of December 2008, when nine female amateur footballers and two coaches were burnt beyond recognition in an auto crash on their way from Jos, Plateau state.
The tears of sorrow had hardly dried up, when 15 members of an amateur side, F.C Jimeta from Adamawa state, Nigeria, died in another auto crash on the 26th of January 2009. Twelve of the dead were players, while the remaining three were trainers.
The tragedy that took place on the 26th of January 2009 had hardly subsided when another devastating incident occurred on the 21st of February 2009. In a single swoop, 13 Football supporters of Nigeria Premier League side Ocean Boys F.C of Yenegoa were killed by persons suspected to be cultist, on their way to attending a premier league match involving their team and Bayelsa United at the Ughelli Township Stadium in Delta State, Nigeria.
Nigerian footballers have also had their fair share of tragedies on and off the field of play. Below is a list of some of the players who have braved all odds to bring joy to football loving Nigerians but later succumbed to the cold hand of death.
- Samuel Okwaraji
Nigeria enterprising midfielder Samuel Tochukwuma Okwaraji slumped and died on August 12, 1989 during a World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Angola. He died of a heart related ailment.
- Amir Angwe
Amir Angwe died on the field of play while starring for Julius Berger F.C on October 29th 1995. It was later discovered that he died of a heart attack.
- George Igenewari
The younger brother to Nigerian former international- George Finidi was slain by the bullet of rival supporters during an F.A Cup match involving his club- Rangers F.C and Stationary Stores of Lagos in 1995.
- Tunde Charity
He was a member of the Flying Eagles team that participated in the 1989 U-20 World Championship held in Saudi Arabia. He died of a head injury sustained in the playing field while featuring for Bendel Insurance F.C in a league match in 1997.
- Boniface Danjuma
This Plateau united player died on August 12, 2006 after he slumped and was confirmed dead 13 minutes into the second half of his team tie with city rival JUTH of Jos at Nassarawa stadium, Keffi.
- Orobosa Adun
He was the first choice goalkeeper of Warri Wolves F.C of Warri Delta State. Slumped and died on May 26th 2009 during training as a result of injury sustained when he was attacked by thugs of Rangers international of Enugu.
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