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NFF mourns Oliha

as Edobor eulogises Oliha

The Nigeria Football Federation has expressed deep shock and sorrow at news of the death of former Super Eagles’ midfield ace, Thompson Oliha.

Oliha, 44, died in a private hospital in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Sunday morning, after complaining of malaria. He was said to have been on the bench with Kwara Football Academy, where he worked as a coach, played a Malian team on Saturday.

General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Musa Amadu, lamented the player’s sudden demise yesterday.

Thompson Oliha
Thompson Oliha

“This is a tragedy of huge proportions. Oliha was one of the best midfielders to have played for Nigeria. His comments and analyses on Nigeria football over the years have been quite informed and useful.

“The Nigeria Football Federation and the entire Nigeria football family mourn Oliha’s passing. He was certainly one of the nation’s greats and acquitted himself brilliantly in the national colours. Now, we have lost another member of the Golden Generation, following the deaths of Uche Okafor and Rashidi Yekini.”

Thompson Oliha featured for a couple of the country’s leading clubs in his days, such as Iwuanyanwu Nationale FC and Bendel Insurance FC, before joining up with Africa Sports of Cote d’Ivoire, after which he featured for Ironi Ashdod FC in Israel and later Antalyaspor FC in Turkey.

He first played for the senior national team in a 1988 Olympic Games qualifying match against Algeria in Annaba in January 1988, and then became a fixture in the team at the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Algeria.

He was a member of the renown Golden Generation, which qualified Nigeria for her first-ever FIFA World Cup finals, won the Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria in Tunisia in 1994 and then reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup finals in USA the same year.

Edobor eulogises Oliha

ALSO former Super Eagles winger, Humphery Edobor has decribed the late Thompson Oliha as a “magician with the ball.”

Edobor who is in the United States of America, expressed shock at the death of his former team mate, saying that “Oliha was still too young to die.”

The former winger who played alongside the late Oliha in the 90s spoke highly of the midfielder. “Oliha was a midfield general who could do a lot of things with the ball. He was a great football maestro and a magician with the ball,” he recalled.

“He was a player of the highest class. Oliha could change the course of a game because of his high work rate. He was tireless.”

The former New Nigeria Bank player  prayed God to grant his departed colleague eternal peace and the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”

 


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