About 30 years after his demise, Nigeria’s football legend, Muda Lawal, has been bestowed with a posthumous award for his patriotism and artistry on the field of play.
The Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) which conferred the honour on the great footballer, also has paid a glowing tribute to him.
The club’s National Chairman, the Rev. Samuel Ikpea, presented the award to the family when members of NFSC visited to sympathise with the family of Lawal at their Abeokuta residence on Friday in commemoration of his 30th anniversary.
In his tribute to the late Green Eagles football legend, Ikpea described Muda as a patriotic and great footballer in his lifetime.
“Muda was a true patriot and great footballer whose service to his nation was unbeaten and legendary.
“Thirty years after, this great footballer’s exploits and artistry on the field of play remains fresh in our memories.
“The NFSC and your teeming fans cannot forget your towering achievements in the field of play during your games.
“May your soul continue to Rest in Peace,’’ he said in a statement by the club’s Media Officer, Peter Ejiofor, and given to Persecondnews on Saturday.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of the posthumous award to his wife and prayers for the family.
Ikpea said Lawal’s contributions to the round leather game would forever remain relevant in the annals of Nigeria football.
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of NFSC, Dominic Ehimare, described the late Lawal as a football colossus who bestrode the Nigeria football landscape in his time.
“Muda is a shining example of zeal and dedication in the field of play. He birthed an era that saw to the present football development in Nigeria.
“Although football in his era was not as money spinning as it is today, but he played his heart out for the fun of it to the admiration of all football enthusiasts and supporters.”
“May his gentle soul continue to rest in the bosom of his maker, Allah,’’ he said.
Activities that marked Lawal’s 30 years of exit started with a Jumat service at the mosque after which the NFSC paid a courtesy visit to the palace of the Alake of Egba land, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo III.
Later they visited his wife where a posthumous award was presented to his family.
Mudashiru Babatunde Lawal, popularly known as Muda Lawal, was the first African player to appear in five consecutive African Cup of Nations tournaments from 1976 to 1984.
He held the record of being Nigeria’s most capped player for 25 years, with 86 appearances and 12 goals, until Nwankwo Kanu equalled it in 2010 with Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama subsequently breaking the record later on 101 appearances.
Skillful, tireless, dedicated, and committed, Lawal was popularly called the Midfield Maestro and the number 4 shirt of the Eagles was his own for 11 years.
And were it not for a brief period in 1983 when he was out of favour, he could have probably attained the ultimate century of caps for his country.
Born in Abeokuta on June 8, 1954, Muda Lawal was an accomplished footballer. He guided Nigeria to its first African Nations title at the 1980 African Nations Cup in Lagos.
Mudashiru Babatunde Lawal died in his home in Ibadan on July 6, 1991, aged 37.
He was immortalised with the Muda Lawal Stadium, Asero, his hometown in Abeokuta.