By Boye Ajayi
Minister of Housing and Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola and former Nigeria’s captain, Segun Odegbami, have joined several notable ex Nigeria internationals in paying tribute to Yisa Sofoluwe, who died on Tuesday of a brain-related disease.
Fashola, a former Governor of Lagos State and a renown footballer, described the deceased as a complete gentleman, recalling recently playing against the former Nigeria wingback popularly called “Minister of defence”.
“So so sad. A complete gentle man on and off the pitch he was.The last time I saw him was when we played against each other during the MKO memorial novelty match at the Campos Mini Stadium.
“As expected, he starred for the ex-Abiola Babes FC while I played for my establishment SLGOVT. May OTOBO’S gentle and amiable soul Rest in Perfect Peace. Aku ara feraku o. Ojo yio jina Sira o LORUKO JESU,AMIN,” stated an apparently saddened legal luminary.
Segun Odegbami, who captained Nigeria’s team of the famed Green Eagles in early 80s, prayed that Sofoluwe’s life will mark a turning point in the articulation of the future of all footballers in Nigeria.
“May the soul of Yisa Sofoluwe rest ànd journey peacefully back to Our Creator. May Yisa’s life also mark a turning point in the articulation of the future of all footballers in Nigeria, that in and out of their careers, they will find comfort, partners, respect and support when it matters the most,” stated the former IICC Shooting Stars forward and a member of the Nigeria team that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980.
Also, other notable Nigeria ex-International paid tribute on the WhatsApp platform, T&T Network in the wake of Sofoluwe’s demise.
Lukman Oshun: “So sad YISA may Allah Accord you with Alijanah fridous inshallah.R.I.P.”
Sylvanus Okpala: “What a sad news, He was a gentle man and soft spoken, He came for a tournament in Festac few years ago thats where I saw him last. May his gentle soul rest in peace, Sylvanus Okpala MON OON.”
Tarila Okorowanta: ” Finally he has come to rest. Minister of sports, before you there was one Minister of defense; we the ex-footballs appreciate all you did and have been doing for us ex-internationals , may God almighty continue to bless you ijn.
: “Our friend, colleague and brother finally left us. You Min Sunday Dare you have done well, may almighty God continue to give you the wisdom to always hear our cry as long as you still remain at the helms of affairs of NFF ijmn. May our friend colleague brother Yisa shofoluwe soul rest in perfect PEACE.”
Damian Ogunsuyi: ” Such a tragic loss. My condolences and prayer of God’s comfort to his loved ones. I called him ” the gentle one”. The Lord comfort and console the football family.”
Nojeem Farawe: ” My brother my bossom friend, may ur gentle soul rest in perfect peace amen.”
Benjamin Nzeakor: “A very strong pain in my heart….very sad ! May the Almighty Lord grant his family members the strength to bear this great loss…He was really very good to everybody.”
Loveday Omoruyi:”Rest in peace defence minister.”
Numa Carlos Binebi: “Don’t wish to believe the sad story about Otobian”. Let’s just say ” OTOBO” travelled.”
Fatai Atere: “May his soul Rest In Peace and May the good lord forgive him of all his sins. We loved you but God loves him more.
Taiwo Oloyede: “We lost a gem again legendary yisa otobo shofoluwe dean of defence rest in peace”
Tosin Adebambo: “May his beautiful soul rest in perfect peace…, what an unconsolable sad day for the lovers of an humbled person Good night my gentle brother Yisa Shofoluwe , you gave your all, May your beautiful rest in perfect peace. Mrs. Adedoyin Ademola (Ademola wife’s just confirmed the passing to me from London).”
Sofoluwe, who is arguably the finest defender in the Nigerian colours, was capped 40 times by Nigeria from 1983 to 1988, and represented the country in Africa Cup of Nations final and World Cup qualifiers.
His death came in the wake of assistance from Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare over a plea for assistance by former Nigeria midfielder and Chairman, Lagos State Football Association, Waidi Akani.
The former Abiola Babes utility player was admitted to hospital for a brain problem few days ago, only for him to give up the ghost on Tuesday.