The Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick has described as ‘very painful’ Tuesday’s death of ex-Super Eagles defender Yisa Sofoluwe
Aside from coming just a few weeks after another ex-international Joe Erico died, Pinnick said Sofoluwe’s death came at a time when help was on the way from different sources.
Sofoluwe 53, died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where he was moved to after he was diagnosed of mild cerebral atrophy at the Prince and Life Medical Hospital, Ikorodu, Lagos.
“It is another sad, sad day. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were lamenting the loss of former goalkeeper and coach Joseph Erico. Now, Yisa Sofoluwe. That man was a gem in the green-and-white and did his very best for Nigeria whenever he was on the field. Personally, I have sweet memories of Yisa Sofoluwe.” Pinnick said in a statement issued by the NFF.
The NFF boss added: “It is more painful that he left just when help was coming to him from everywhere and the process was on to rectify his medical condition. We loved him but God loves him more. May his soul rest in peace.
Rise to stardom
Lithe, versatile, unglamorous and ever-alert, Yisa Sofoluwe first wore Nigeria’s colours during the qualifying series for the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship (now FIFA U20 World Cup) in Mexico.
He was a key figure in that squad that became the first Nigeria team to feature at a FIFA-organised championship.
The Flying Eagles defeated the old Soviet Union, lost to Brazil and drew with The Netherlands, narrowly failing to make the knockout stage.
The same year, he won his first senior cap, in a 1984 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Morocco in Benin City, which ended in a barren draw. The return leg in Rabat also ended goallessly, but Nigeria triumphed 4-3 after a penalty shootout to qualify for Cote d’Ivoire ’84.
Sofoluwe played a notable role in the Green Eagles squad that finished as runner-up in Cote d’Ivoire, winning Nigeria’s first silver medal at the AFCON, and was also a force in the team that repeated the feat in Morocco four years later. He won a total of 40 caps for the Nigeria senior team, scoring one goal – in a 1986 World Cup qualifying match against Kenya in Lagos on April 20, 1985, that Nigeria won 3-1.
The hardworking defender played his club football for ITT FC, Abiola Babes FC, Shooting Stars FC and Gateway FC.Follow us on social media