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Yet another Nigeria football July immemorial: Rangers first goalkeeper and father of ex-Super Eagle is 24 in eternity

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Cyril Okosieme in his early days at Enugu Rangers in 1970

Not many may remember him, but he was the first goalkeeper of the famous Enugu Rangers when it was newly established in the early 1970s.

This Saturday marks 24 years since Cyril Okosieme, the founding goalkeeper of Enugu Rangers who died on 29 July 1999. According to one of his sons, Nnamdi Okosieme who is an accomplished sports journalist, Cyril Okosieme died in Owerri, Imo State.

He left Rangers for Bendel Insurance FC of Benin (then Vipers of Benin) in 1972.

Cyril Okosieme (middle) during his days at Enugu Rangers

He was the father of Nigerian international, Ndubuisi Okosieme, who was a member of the Nigeria national team that had the runners-up position at the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations – the team that was nicknamed ‘Super Eagles’ on 29 March 1988 by Vice Admiral Augustus Aikhomu.

Days at Bendel Insurance: Okosieme (middle) with Ghanaian Ebenezer Badger (left)  and an unidentified player.

Ndubuisi was also a member of the Flying Eagles team that placed third at the Soviet 1985 World Youth Championship that is now called U20 World Cup.

Another offspring of Cyril Okosieme is the four-time Women’s World Cup veteran,   Nkiru Okosieme, who also captained of the Super Falcons.

Cyril Okosieme was the Assistant Coach of Insurance when they beat Enugu Rangers 3-0 in the final of the 1978 Challenge Cup.

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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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OBITUARY

Millwall goalkeeper Sarkic dies at 26

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Carabao Cup Third Round - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leeds United - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - November 9, 2022 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Matija Sarkic celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers/File photo

Millwall and Montenegro goalkeeper Matija Sarkic died on Saturday at the age of 26, the Championship club confirmed.

Sarkic fell ill in his home country while on international duty. Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti reported Sarkic died in an apartment in Budva early in the morning.

“Everyone at the club sends their love and condolences to Matija’s family and friends at this immensely sad time,” Millwall said in a statement.

“The club will make no further comment at this time and asks that the privacy of Matija’s family is respected.”

“Our dear Matija, we will miss you and your cheerful spirit, your work ethic and your great defending,” the Montenegro Football Association (FSCG) said in a statement, describing Sarkic as an “always smiling guy”.

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“On behalf of European football, our deepest condolences go to Matija’s friends, family and everybody who knew him. Rest in peace, Matija,” governing body UEFA said in a statement.

Sarkic made nine saves in Montenegro’s 2-0 defeat to Belgium in a friendly last Wednesday and was named man of the match for his outstanding performance.

Born in Grimsby, England, Sarkic played for Aston Villa and Belgian side Anderlecht at youth level. He made 33 appearances for Millwall after joining in August 2023 from Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers.

-Reuters

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Former Arsenal and Everton striker Campbell dies at 54

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Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell (R) is challenged by Hartlepool United's Phil Gilchrist during their League Cup second round second leg match at Highbury in London October 5, 1994. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

Former Arsenal, Everton and Nottingham Forest striker and soccer commentator Kevin Campbell has died at the age of 54.

British media said he had been in hospital for two weeks before his death was announced on Saturday.

“We are devastated to learn that our former striker Kevin Campbell has died after a short illness,” Arsenal said on social media. “Kevin was adored by everyone at the club.”

The London-born Campbell made his senior debut at Arsenal in 1988 and spent seven years at the club including two loan spells. He was part of the Arsenal side that won the English first division league in 1990-91, the FA Cup in 1992-93 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1993-94.

He joined Forest in 1995, where he spent three years, before moving to Everton in 1999 for a six-year spell. Campbell scored 45 Premier League goals for Everton, becoming their fifth highest goalscorer in the competition and their first ever Black captain.

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“Not just a true Goodison Park hero and icon of the English game but an incredible person as well — as anyone who ever met him will know,” Everton posted on X.

-Reuters

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OBITUARY

NFF shocked, saddened by Domo Okara’s death

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The Nigeria Football Federation has described as shocking and very sad, the death on Saturday of Head Coach of Bayelsa Queens Football Club, Domo Okara.

“We are shocked and saddened beyond words. In all sincerity, we are still trying to process the report. I have spoken to a lot of people who said they interacted with him days earlier and he was hale and hearty. This is a very sorrowful development.

“Okara was one of the pillars of women football coaching in the country. Indeed, it is a period of mourning for the women’s game in our country because the man was more than a coach. He was a mentor, a leader and an inspiration to many. We pray that God will give him eternal rest and also grant the immediate family, his friends, Bayelsa Queens FC family and Nigeria football the fortitude to bear this sudden and big loss,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said on Sunday.

Domo Okara, who led Bayelsa Queens to win the Nigeria Women Premier League title in 2022 and also won the Federation Cup with the team the following year, was reported to have died suddenly on Saturday morning.

He led the team from Yenagoa to win the bronze medals at the 2nd edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League competition in Morocco – the only Nigerian team to have achieved that feat.

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