Help came too late for Nigeria’s former international footballer, Yisa Sofoluwe who died Tuesday night, hours after Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Sunday Dare offered financial assistance to treat his ailment.
Sofoluwe, whose smallish frame belied his skill died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja. He was initially believed to be battling ‘brain ailments’ but later information has it that it was covid-19. He was aged 54.
According to a press statement by the media team of the sports minister, Sunday Dare has expressed deep shock and sadness over the demise of the former footballer.
“The news of Yisa Sofoluwe’s death is quite devastating and one that hit me like a tornado. He was a great, committed, disciplined, humble and patriotic player. He came ahead of his time.
“My condolences and prayers goes to his wife, children, teammates and the football community. He died just when help was on the way to pay for his surgery .His death is a huge loss. Rest in peace Dean of Defence, the minister’s statement concluded.
Nicknamed as ‘Dean of Defence’ by the inimitable sports commentator, Ernest Okonkwo, Sofoluwe as a member of the 1983 class of Flying Eagles was saddled with the task of marking the Dutch legendary footballer, Marco Van Basten at Mexico World Youth Championship.
Capped 40 times for the then Green Eagles, Sofoluwe made his international debut on 28 August 1983 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match with Morocco at the then Ogbe Stadium in Benin.
His death has come just two days to the second anniversary of the death of Taiwo Ogunjobi who also played against Morocco on 11 February 1984.
Sports Village Square recalls that in his 40 appearances for Nigeria, Sofoluwe scored a goal which was in the 3-1 defeat of Kenya in a World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Lagos.