Former Green Eagles’ Captain and 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winner, Segun Odegbami MON, has voiced his support to the cancellation of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season by the Nigeria Football Federation ,NFF.
Odegbami who is called ‘Mathematical’ said cancellation of the league season was the best decision under the circumstance.
” It made absolute sense that in the midst of a pandemic that Nigeria is unprepared for, that we don’t know much about, that the whole world is learning about the virus, for us to plunge our young people and those who follow football into that kind of risk, does not make sense.”
‘Mathematical’ reckons that the health and safety of the players, officials and the spectators were non negotiable, and should never be put at risk in desire to play football.
In retrospect, “Mathematical” said the high point of his playing career was “winning the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time”.
He revealed that inability of Nigeria to qualify for the FIFA world Cup finals during his playing days which was the only regret of the period.
The former Gateway United boss said improvement in the facilities, equipment and technicalities should be the highpoints of present day football.
Odegbami reflected on Nigeria’s foremost clubs and submitted that Rangers International of Enugu and Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan as more than ordinary clubs in Nigeria.
Odegbami was very prominent in the success stories of Shooting stars in the 70s and 80s.
He appreciated the efforts of Rangers in ensuring that they remained in the top flight league since inception in 1970, but bemoaned the inability of Shooting Stars to replicate that, instead, they continued to fluctuate between the Premiership and the lower league.
Odegbami was the first Nigerian to be named among the 10 best African players in 1976.
He said until the Oyo State government realized the importance of Shooting Stars in the Socio-political economy of the state, and give it the required attention, the fortunes of the club will continue to fluctuate.
He recalled that the success of Shooting Stars in the 1976 African Winners Cup (now CAF confederation Cup) changed the perspective of many about Nigerian football, leading to his nomination as the third best player in Africa back then.
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‘Mathematical’ Odegbami paid glowing tribute to General David Jemibewon who incidentally clocked 80 years recently, was the best football friendly governor that has ever ruled any of the Western States, with the exemption of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“When we won the first continental trophy in 1976, General Jemibewon paid all the bonuses and promised to give us a Volkswagen Bettle car each if we retained the trophy in 1977.
“General Jemibewon still gave us the cars for our efforts, despite losing in the semi finals to Rangers International of Enugu”, Odegbami disclosed.
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