Sam Okwaraji died over 30 years ago, slumped on the pitch during a world cup qualifier in Lagos and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Okwaraji’s death gripped Nigeria and left the football-crazed nation stunned at the loss of a rising star.
Among the many things he will be remembered for was a famous quote about his allegiance to country over club.
I am a Lawyer you know and signed to play football for certain conditions but I don’t think it included reselling my service to my country. You or your club cannot stop me from playing for my country. Let me tell you, I am going to represent my country whether you like it or not.
It’s been over 30 years since this real and true Nigerian Patriot passed on while on duty for the country. Keep resting in peace, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji.
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) August 12, 2019
On this day, 30 years ago, I witnessed the death of @official_rafc and @NGSuperEagles midfielder Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, during a @FIFAWorldCup QF against Angola. May the soul of this great player and patriot rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/D1l6Qn3kmw
— Osasu Obayiuwana (@osasuo) August 12, 2019
Worth mentioning that Okwaraji was also a professional lawyer as he graduated from Pontifical Lateran University, Rome. He was a youth team player for @ASRomaPidgin before joining Dinamo Zagreb. YouTube doesn't have enough of clips of him but he was the best dribbler at his time https://t.co/72sYKpaNZA
— Daniele (@EdenDassidy) August 12, 2019
Samuel Okwaraji played for #Nigeria at the 1988 Olympic Games and the 1988 AFCON in Morocco.
The midfielder collapsed after a cardiac arrest on the pitch.
Lagos stadium ambulance 🚑 failed to start.
Death was announced later that night.
His Mother abandoned😢
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) August 12, 2019