Today marks the 55TH Birthday of Legendary Samuel Okwaraji before his painful exit from this earth.His ultimately painful death took place right at the national stadium,Lagos while playing world cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on 12th August 1989.Click HERE to read how he died.
As Today marks his 55th birthday,we will be looking some remarkable part of Samuel Okwaraji’s life and career that most people are ignorant of.
- Full name is Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji born on 19 May 1964 in Orlu, Imo State, Nigeria.
- Was in the very first set of Students to attend Federal Government College, Orlu, Imo State.
- Started youth career at Roma
- Was handed his first contract by Italian giants, AS Roma aged 20, four years before Francesco Totti joined the club.
- Played for four other foreign clubs including Dinamo Zagreb and VfB Stuttgart; aside AS Roma.
- Never played in the Nigerian league; making him to fall into an elite group of ex-footballers never to have made any appearance in the domestic league.
- Could speak at least five languages: His native Igbo, English, German, Italian and Spanish. Some of these languages were enabled by the fact that his footballing career spanned through some of these countries.
- Was a trained lawyer. He has Masters’ Degree in International Law from the University of Rome.
- Studied law, Sapienza-Universita di Roma (Sapienza University of Rome) was (and is) the largest and oldest European University.
- Chose football instead because he was of the opinion football was the better option for him. He believed the football pitch was where he belonged.
- At one time, the then NFA chairman then, Grp.Capt. John Obakpolor pay 15,000 dollars to his club to play for a Nigeria match; of which the club actually request the sum of 45,000 dollars.
- Put his country above club, which he proved his patriotism onetime his club demanded the Nigerian Football Association to pay before his release. He fired at his employers saying: “I signed to play football for you on certain conditions, but I don’t think it includes reselling my services to my country. You cannot stop me playing for my country and let me tell you, I am going to represent my country in the World Cup in Italy whether you like it or not and I would very much like for you to be there.”
- Passed on exactly 27 years ago today.
- Death cost Nigeria the Italia ‘90 Fifa World Cup [ticket],” according his former teammate Etim Esin
- Jersey number is NO 6
- Singled himself out from other players by wearing a unique hairstyle which braided hairdo.
- Died in the 77th Minute of the Nigeria-Angola Match at the Lagos National Stadium in Lagos on August 12, 1989.
- Fondly remembered for scoring one of the fastest goals of the Africa Cup of Nations against Cameroon in 1989
- Death on the pitch wasn’t an exciting experience as four other persons died alongside with him in the same field,same day. Click HERE to read more
- Became Nigeria’s first football martyr who sadly met his end while representing his fatherland.