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July 28th, 2023 – Stepping Backwards To See Farther Ahead In Nigerian Sports  –Odegbami 

July 28th, 2023 – Stepping Backwards To See Farther Ahead In Nigerian Sports  –Odegbami 

Officially, the football season in our part of the world has ended. The European Leagues are also on break, and all national football teams have resumed their march to other continental championships.

Even those ones will soon give way to the annual spell when football goes to sleep for almost 2 months and its fanatical followers change gears and start the transfer game when players and coaches become commodities in the open market of European football.

Downunder in Australia, the football season will begin and only pundits that feed on any football matches from anywhere on the planet during this period remind us there are actually other footbàll Leagues outside Europe of any significance.

Meanwhile, during this period most of us reset the buttons of our sports interests. We move over to car racing and follow Louis Hamilton; or to tennis and follow the exploits of Alcaraz, Djokovic, Coco and Nadal. As I write this, I am preparing for the Queen’s Club and Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

Also Read: Celebrating An Exiting Minister Of Sports! –Odegbami

This summer period, a proposed exciting international programme may take me to the Caribbeans for the first time, to the Islands of Trinidad and Tobago, for a business and Investment Conference laced with a heavy dose of sports. It is part of a grander design to kick-start a solid and sustainable link between West Africa and the Carribeans in a collaboration that shall birth a new relationship between old ‘blood brothers’ separated by the Slave Trade, Centuries ago. The ‘cement’ is Sport.

With Sport as a main ingredient, we shall return to Our roots, find common grounds of interest, raise ‘dead bones’ and breathe new life into them, create a social, cultural and economic ecosystem, build a common front and agenda, and come together as one to the table of Civilizations, as equal partners, in an emerging New World Order.

I am supposed to be one of the keynote speakers, along with Dr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman of AirPeace Airline, the fastest-growing airline in Africa, to open up channels of dialogue between the people of West Africa and the West Indies.

AirPeace Airline also has plans to spread its wings during the period to the Carribbeans.

It is all good and coming together.

Meanwhile, it is not by accident that I have written about the AirPeace Airline ‘Guru’, Allen Onyema, twice in the recent past. The gentleman was a sportsman in his youthful days, a teammate to scholar/athletes of the generation of Folorunsho Okenla, Wole Odegbami, Goke Adelabu and so on, and a staunch supporter of sports, particularly footbàll, since then.


Air Peace Chairman, Dr. Allen Onyema

Remember that AirPeace Airline is still an official airline of the Nigeria Football Federation. Or is it not?

Allen has three passions – the welfare of retired and ageing athletes;  justice for neglected and forgottèn athletes; and a desire to embark on projects that take sports to new frontiers of exponential growth, hitherto untouched areas of the sports industry.

At the moment, he has taken on the challenge of delving into history to unearth, honour, celebrate and reward forgotten sports heroes.

Also Read: At The Olympics, You Do Not Have To Participate To Be A Winner!  –Odegbami

He also identifies with and wants to celebrate a particular team in Nigeria’s football history – the 1980 Green Eagles.

And finally, he wants to be part of the most ambitious sports development project in African football history.

For the above reasons, I shall be having a world-exclusive conversation with him to be published and broadcast on the global information superhighway this weekend.

July 28th project.

Nigerian sports suffer from a lack of proper documentation of the country’s sports history. That continues to challenge 18th of July projects.

Despite all my effort, I still fall short of collating the names of all the 44 àthletes, comprising 20 Track and Field athletes, 20 football players, 3 boxers and 1 swimmer that were registered to represent Nigeria at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.

Working with some surviving athletes as well as sifting through documents mostly gathered from the Nigeria Olympic Committee, we now have the full list of the 20 Track and Field athletes, but not so for football.

We have 17 confirmed names, plus 2 that still need confirmation, and one missing name. No one remembers the last name.

Thèse are the names of the athletes to the 1976 Olympics in Canada and the 1980 African Cup of Nations.

The athletes will be honoured, appreciated, celebrated, immortalised and rewarded on July 28th, 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria.

They are as follows: There is a last name, No. 20, that no one has been able to recall. Sadly, none of the surviving members of that squad also remembers. Can anyone else help?

Also Read: Birth Of A New National Institute For Sports, NIS?  –Odegbami

The significance and impact of the two contingents are  DIPLOMATiC, hence the location of the activities within the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA and not the Ministry of Sports.

The 1976 Olympic Contingent in Athletics are:

  1. Bruce Ijirigho
  2. Felix Imadiyi
  3. Kolawole Abdulahi
  4. Ruks Bazunu,
  5. Moses Adebanji
  6. Edward Ofili
  7. Mark Olomu
  8. Chuks Abigide
  9. John Okoro
  10. Charlton Ehizuelen
  11. Moses Akporowho
  12. Godwin Obasogie
  13. Graywood Oruwari
  14. Modupe Oshikoya
  15. Gloria Ayanlaja
  16. Dele Udoh
  17. Benjamin Omodiale
  18. Olarotimi Peters
  19. Dennis Otono
  20. Taiwo Ogunjobi

In Boxing, they are:

  1. Davidson Andeh
  2. Obisia Nwankpa
  3. L. Obagoriola

In Swimming

  1. John Ebito

1976 Green Eagles to Montreal’ 76 are:

  1. Emmanuel Okala
  2. Joseph Erico
  3. Sani Mohammed
  4. Andrew Atuegbu
  5. Samuel Ojebode
  6. Christian Chukwu
  7. Godwin Odiye
  1. Mudashiru Lawal
  2. Baba Otu Mohammed
  3. Jide Dina
  4. Adekunle Awesu
  5. Thompson Usiyan
  6. Aloysius Atuegbu
  7. Kelechi Emetiole
  8. Patrick Ekeji
  9. Haruna Ilerika
  10. Segun Odegbami

Two names still need confirmation:

  1. Ignatius Ilechukwu
  2. Godwin Iwelumo. Were they there or not?

The names of the 22 members of the 1980 African Cup of Nations Squad are:

  1. Emmanuel Okala
  2. Best Ogedegbe
  3. Moses Effiong
  4. David Adiele
  5. Okey Isima
  6. John Orlando
  7. Christian Chukwu
  8. Tunde Bamidele
  9. Godwin Odiye,
  10. Ifeanyi Onyedika
  11. Sylvanus Okpala
  12. Adokie Amiasimaka
  13. Shafiu Mohammed
  14. Martin Eyo
  15. Frank Nwachi
  16. Mudashiru Lawal
  17. Aloysius Atuegbu
  18. Charles Bassey
  19. Kadiri Ikhana
  20. Felix Owolabi
  21. Henry Nwosu
  22. Segun Odegbami

On July 28, Nigeria shall witness the re-unification of these great Sports Diplomacy heroes, courtesy of Allen Onyema, Peace Airline, MTN, NTA, NIIA, the Ministry of Sports, and more.


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  • The mathematical Odegbami I HAIL O! Sir, it seems you have dropped your fight for the return to the grassroot development of our sports in general and football in particular, you have always advocated for the development of our football from the grassroot but it seems you have given up because you have been silent for a very long time or have i been missing something? Anyhow, i want to APPEAL TO YOU SIR, to return to your crusade for the return to grassroot development of our sports. Personally i would have loved for Nigeria to copy the United State’s school sports program that makes it compulsory for all ports to be developed from their school systems which was exactly what we used to do in Nigeria in the past. School sports will throw so many talents that will compel companies to fall over themselves to sponsor the programs and it will bring the embarrassing lack of real gifted talents in our National teams to an end etc , etc

    • My man Nigeria sports is packed with talents our leaders are just corrupt and racist full of Tribalism.

      Name how many countries can boast of having a Victor Osimhen and Gift Orban in the same Generation?. And all the other talents even Chukwueze got Football

      What of Basketball was it not the same president who self imposed Nigeria’s ban on herself because the talents didnt conform with his Ideology of where they should come from which is the North?. I remember in the early days of Basketball force in Nigeria the emergence of Imeh Udoka and all of them Back Then Nigeria for some reason realised if we are to Compete with America we need to scout for Nigerian Americans who operate in the NBA and Naturalize them we set out and did i.e. Udoka the aim is to Bring utilise thier knowledge to grow the game back home. Instead we bring them dont pay them complain when the ask for thier intitlements the dispose of them we dont recognise and so Nigeria becomes a transit destination for them with bad memories. The president then turns on them in arrogance and bands them from featuring thinking we will somehow get to the NBA’s standards internally without help. Nigerian arrogance

  • Great article from the accomplished and famous Chief Segun Odegbami [MON]!
    Bringing back all those memories when Nigeria was a much better place to live in. You are one of the sports heroes of this country and your contributions will never be forgotten.
    I wish this mostly uninformed Indomie Generation would pay more attention.

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