A pall of darkness has again enveloped the Nigerian football space. Following the earlier deaths of former Nigerian football chieftain, Brig. Gen. Dominic Oneya and international footballers, Thompson Usiyan and Sunday Oyarekhua, the death of a former media officer, Ben Alaiya has also occurred.
The string of tragedies has consequently thrown the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) into mourning.
The NFF has expressed shock and sadness over the death on Monday of former Nigeria international striker Oyarekhua and also that of Tuesday night of Alaiya.
Oyarekhua, who retired as an Assistant Commissioner of Police, was top scorer of the men’s football event of the 2nd All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted in 1973, as the Green Eagles won the gold medal after a 2-0 win over Guinea in the Final. He featured for the Senior Men National Team between 1971 – 1976 and was known for his marksmanship in front of goal.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said: “Oyarekhua was a quintessential poacher, and also contributed his bit to the administration of the game. We pray that God will grant him eternal rest and also grant those he has left behind the fortitude to bear the big loss.”
The retired police officer was also a Board Member of the Nigeria Football Federation between 1999-2002, during the presidency of Brigadier-General Dominic Oneya, who passed on early August.
Oyarekhua’s death comes just a month after that of another former Nigeria international striker, Thompson Usiyen who died in the United States of America.
The NFF has also expressed shock and sorrow over the passing on Tuesday night of leading journalist and former Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Benjamin Alaiya. Alaiya, Media Officer of the Super Eagles between November 2011 and February 2015, was reported to have died in his hometown, Ososo, Edo State after a brief illness.
“Ben worked very hard in his role as Super Eagles’ media officer and was always a jolly good fellow. He was very professional and dedicated. This is quite sad. Our hearts go out to his young wife and the children. We pray that God will grant him eternal rest and also give the family and other loved ones he left behind the fortitude to bear the loss. It is devastating,” Sanusi said.