‘The word death strikes me hollow’ and more Sam Okwaraji’s quotes

‘The word death strikes me hollow’ and more Sam Okwaraji’s quotes
August 20
15:34 2014

It’s the end of Sam Okwaraji’s week at TheCable and in continuation of our stories on the soccer maestro who slumped and died at the National Stadium in Lagos while serving the country, we bring you more quotes from and on the fallen but not forgotten hero.

We are all itching to appear in the World Cup finals; we cannot let this chance slip away. – Samuel Okwaraji (SO) before the game against Angola, 1989

I have no quarrel with coach Hamilton or anybody for that matter. There were something that went wrong, which I spoke against, and they have been corrected. So, I am here and fit to play.  SO on his brief absence from the team, 1989

I am a professional footballer. I have been playing big-time football. So, when I come for a match I do not come to warm the bench. SO is sure of a shirt against Angola, 1989

I have played for top teams in Europe and we played against Brazil in Seoul. Personally, I do not fear Cameroon and believe my colleagues feel the same way, too. If we are all fit for the match, I do not see Cameroon stopping us. SO looks ahead to the last Group C World Cup qualifier against Cameroon in Yaounde, 1989

I don’t like talking about money.  SO

A midfield player in the mold of Friday Ekpo – delicate, skillful, and forceful. – Sam Akpabot, 1989

Here was Okwaraji everywhere marshaling the midfield with compact alertness. Overworking himself, putting life into the seemingly dull Super Eagles attack unknowingly at the expense of his own life. – Samson Adeoti, 1989

We here are like drowned people. We don’t know what exactly to do; we do not know what killed him.Igwe P.I. Acholonu, the traditional ruler of Orlu in Imo state, 1989

Even though his death is most painful, I do not think that if he had lived up to 80 years, he would have attracted such attention as he has done. Sole Administrator, Orlu Local Government Area, Ikpo Ali, 1989

God, give us another Sam Okwaraji.Minister of Works and Housing, Major-General Mamman Kontangora, 1989

Ghana is deeply touched by the loss of the great star footballer, Sam Okwaraji. It is a great loss to the entire continent of Africa. Major John Addai, chief executive of Ghana’s National Sports Council, 1989

Nigeria has missed a great patriot whose vacuum will be difficult to fill. Sports Minister, Tonye Graham-Douglas

Oh, such a humble boy; he had not even been married, neither did he leave behind an offspring. His death is like dying on active service. Group Captain John Obakpolor, former chairman, Nigeria Football Association, 1989

I suggested that we should pull out of the World Cup. Two or three others supported me until we were reminded that Okwaraji himself had wished to see Nigeria play in Italy. Then we all resolved to honour his memory by going to Cameroon to beat them and qualify for the World Cup in Italy. Augustine Eguavoen, 1989

The most surprising aspect was that the player did not show any sign of ailment during the training sessions. He was hale and hearty even before the match; otherwise, we wouldn’t have fielded him. Ganiyu Salami, Super Eagles assistant coach, 1989

Sam is gone and a deserving burial is planned for him. But I will also fondly remember that night in Rabat when he gallantly saluted Nigeria’s heartbreaking semi-final win over Algeria with the green-white-green flag. Sam waved it so admiringly in his lap of honour, and all of us there found a symbol to cheer. He died wearing the national colours. Mitchell Obi, 1989

I can’t really say anything about the extent of Sam’s wealth, but he was certainly the wealthiest amongst us. Patrick Okwaraji, 1989

Soccer fans lent their voices as well…

You propagated the Rastafarian Doctrine through your soccer wizardry; set out on a course marked by a height of patriotism and sacrifice. – Chimay Oliver Okpalaugo, 1990

The Gods are not to blame for Sam’s death. His death will only expose those of us whose lips lack truth. The late soccer apostle will only be happy if the ‘’true’’ cause of his death is exposed. Victus Ezekafor, 1990

Okwaraji was the only professional footballer who did not believe in ‘’NFA must send my ticket.’’ He died while giving everything he had to football and thus impressed many. Maikudi Shehu Hardawa, 1990

He staked all he had for Nigeria’s football. The fans, from generation to generation, will forever remember his case. Owuddor Newuewu, 1990

Sam Okwaraji once declared: “…for me, football is always a war!” Little did he know the irony in the statement. Even though he went to the war and never returned, he is a juggernaut of Nigerian soccer. Umina Urem, 1990

He paid the greatest price to his country just as Christ paid to the world. John Nwoye, 1991

A great patriot by any standard. Sam, unlike his professional colleagues, asked what he could do for his country and not what his country could do for him. – Kabri Mogayaki, 1991

You ‘whaoed’ the soccer world for 19 consecutive months, but it ends in sorrow. May your soul rest in perfect peace till we meet to part no more. Ematty Odidika, 1991                                                            

You can add yours here……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………



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