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50 years of African Games gold medal: Nigerian musician-turned evangelist almost go crazy over football





Idowu Animashaun who was a popular Nigerian musician in the old Western State has narrated how obsession for football nearly made him go crazy. He was fondly called the ‘Apola King’ in the 1970s.

The former musician of juju genre in a telephone chat was reacting to the 50th anniversary of Nigeria winning the gold medal of the football event of the All Africa Games in Lagos in 1973.

“Of course, I was at the National Stadium that day and I enjoyed every moment of that final match against Guinea”, said the musician who is now an evangelist, working in the Lord’s vineyard.

He narrated how obsessed he was with football. He waxed a record in memory of Tesilimi ‘Thunder’ Balogun when he died in July 1972. He did another one for the IICC Shooting Stars when the Ibadan-based club became Nigeria’s first team to win a continental trophy in 1976.


He was also at the then King George V Stadium, now Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, in 1954 when the first recorded tragedy on Nigerian field happened.

David Omofeye, popularly called ‘Idi’ collapsed and died on the field while playing for Railway against Marine in a Lagos Amateur Football Association league match.

He said the details of such will be released in his autobiography which he is writing.  

Evangelist Animashaun recalled the 1972 Challenge Cup final match, the first to be replayed outside Lagos. The final match contested by Bendel Insurance and Mighty Jets at the then Lagos City Stadium, Onikan had controversially ended 2-2  and a replay was fixed for Liberty Stadium in Ibadan.

The match marked the last time the cup final was played at Onikan, the competition’s birth place. It was also the first time, it had to be played outside Lagos and at Ibadan.


Bendel Insurance triumphed 3-2. “I watched the match at Liberty Stadium. Mighty Jets almost equalized at 3-3 but for Bendel Insurance’s captain, Victor Oduah who used his palm to stop a goal-bound shot outside the penalty box”, said Animashaun.

He recalled that he was rooting for Mighty Jets as he was billed to entertain guest at  a victory party that had been planned at Lafia Hotel had the Jos team won.

“I was so sad when I left the stadium as the proposed entertainment had been ruined. I left the Liberty Stadium hoping to go to my house at Ayankoya Street in Oke Ado area of Ibadan.

“In a confused state of mind, I missed my way as I had wandered far away from home.”


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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