A group of Nigerian sports writers abroad, Nigerian Sports Journalists In Diaspora (NSJID) has called on Nigerian sports authorities, especially the Nigeria Football Federation to step in and alleviate the suffering of former Nigerian goalkeeper, Peter Fregene who has been sick for some time and suffering from stroke.
Fregene, who debuted for Nigeria in a 1 May 1968 World Cup qualifying match with Cameroon in Lagos was Nigeria’s goalkeeper at the Mexico ‘68 Olympic Games, Nigeria first competitive appearance at global level.
After being off international scene for nearly 12 years, Fregene made a dramatic comeback as Nigeria’s goalkeeper at the Libya ‘82 Africa Cup of Nations.
The NSJID in a message to the Sports Village Square signed by its president, Gbenga Bakare, the body remarked that the former Nigerian safest hands looked emaciated and very sick, and looked like he needed a lot of help to stay alive.
Fregene’s plight had been on for years and the former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, while on the saddle offered some assistance to Fregene.
His plight hit limelight again following the global attention that the late Pele received while he was hospitalised before his death on 29 December 2022.
Incidentally, Fregene was in goal when Pele and his teammates in Santos FC played a 2-2 draw against Nigeria in January 1969.
On his plight, the NSJID asked: “Are we going to let this guy die?”
“I have not seen a society that will let his past heroes die of hunger. It will be sad if we allow him to die like this“ Gbenga Bakare, who is the President of Nigerian Sports Journalists In Diaspora (NSJID) remarked.
Bakare, the former Puuch Sports Editor urged the Federal Government to come to the aid of Fregene before it is too late.
He advised that Nigeria should take a cue from Argentina when Maradona was sick and needed medical treatment, “every Argentine rose to his aid, though he eventually died, but he was not abandoned “
“We can also learn from Pele’s situation before he died, he became a national issue. He was treated at the best hospital. I believe we can do better than this.” Bakare stressed