BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA.
Nigerian football cheer leader, Rafiu Ladipo has joined the growing army of football followers in Nigeria who believed that the Legendary XI unveiled by the NFF at its inaugural awards night on Monday, did not reflect the various generations and the contributions of past heroes.
While some great players like Christian Chukwu, Segun Odegbami, Felix Owolabi, Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Okocha and Thompson Usiyen made the list, greats like Emmanuel Okala, Nigeria’s football martyr, Samuel Okwaraji, Rashidi Yekini, Stephen Keshi and Tesilimi Balogun were glaring omissions.
Ladipo told www.sportsvillagesquare.com that the omission of the quartet of
Stephen Keshi, Samuel Okwaraji, Rashidi Yekini and Teslimi Balogun, all deceased players is inexcusable.
“I was shocked by not seeing late Samuel Opkaraji who died on the field of play while representing Nigeria. It’s just unfair. The NFF should have consulted some football historians and top journalists in the country before revealing this to the world.
“I have been following the national team since I was nobody. I grew up watching late Teslimi Balogun. He was so good that the Lagos State Government named a stadium after him.
“I don’t know how they came about this list that excluded late Stephen Keshi who was the first and only Nigeria to win the AFCON as a player and as a coach.
“The female category should have been done separately. You can’t match the male attribute to the female. It’s not done in any part of the world. I just hope the organizers adjust and correct their errors before the next edition,” he remarked.