Sam Okwaraji slumped and later died of congestive heart failure during an active service for the nation

– Okwaraji was a shining example for the muddle cuddled, materialistic and egotistic modern day footballers

– The icon’s patriotism went beyond simply representing his country

– Lack of Federal government recognition is simply disgraceful

Okwaraji was a true national hero who lost his life during an active service for the nation, slumping and later suffering untimely death from congestive heart failure in the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Angola at the national stadium, Surulere, Lagos with 13 minutes left to play on 12 August, 1989.

The autopsy report revealed that he had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure, reminiscent of Marc Vivien Foe’s demise in similar circumstances in 2003.

For this especially, along with other patriotic acts, the trendsetting law graduate and enigmatic midfielder was a worthy legend in every sense. The example he gave paying for this own flights to Nigeria for Super Eagles matches without asking the then Nigeria Football Association for refunds are lost on the modern day muddle cuddled, materialistic and egotistic players.

Short but vibrant history

Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji was born on 19 May, 1964 in Owerre-Umudiaka, Orlu Local Government Area of Imo state, South Eastern Nigeria.

He became the most educated Nigerian footballer with his qualification as a lawyer with a masters degree in international law from the University of Rome.

Acquisition of masters degree was challenging enough, talk less of combining it with football. It certainly was no mean feat – a rare endeavour in the history of the round leather game. He played for NK Dinamo Zagreb, VfB Stuttgart and SSV-ULM1846.

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