By Solomon Nwoke
THE virtues of the former Green Eagles player, Sam Sochukwuma Okwaraji, who died in the course of rendering service to fatherland some 20 years ago, were extolled high yesterday at a memorial lecture organised in his honour by the Lagos chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (S
The occasion also witnessed the rededication of Sam Okwaraji Garden in front of the Lagos National Stadium, by His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), and was consummated with a novelty match between the 1989 Super Eagles Team and All Stars of Lagos at the newly renovated Teslim Balogun Stadium. Okwaraji’s colleagues of 1989 beat Fashola’s All Stars 2-1in the thrilling encounter.
Delivering his lecture tagged â€˜Sports, Patriotism and Rewardâ€™ at the Sam Okwaraji 20th Anniversary Memorial lecture, the Guest speaker, Segun Odegbami (MON), described Okwaraji as an epitome of patriotism and urged Eagles of today to emulate the virtues of the late hero.
He said, â€œitâ€™s not about what the government can do for you, but what we are doing as individuals. We must be committed.
Itâ€™s not about reward, but itâ€™s about rendering services to both yourself, community and at the end of the day the reward will come. You donâ€™t start by putting reward first. So let us do our best for our country first and the reward will follow. Thatâ€™s what Okwaraji stood for.
â€œOkwaraji was never the best player to have ever played for Nigeria, he wasnâ€™t the longest serving player for Nigeria, but at the time he came everybody recognised him for coming without even an invitation, for his insistence to play for Nigeria, not worrying about money or whatever but just rendering the service to Nigeria. He died rendering service to our country, so thatâ€™s a lesson for all of us.
â€œWhen Sam Okwaraji came,