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Samuel Okwaraji: Nigeria vs India (99 – 1) – BEST SELLING STREET STORY OF ALL TIME!!

Samuel Okwaraji
Samuel Okwaraji

Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by Okoro Daniel O.




Growing up, we heard lot of tales and one of them was how Indian men football team got banned by FIFA from football after the game they had with the Nigerian Super Eagles which Samuel Okwaraji happens to be the messiah of the show.

Samuel Oparaji‘, Yoruba and Hausa most especially, would fondly called [him].

Indomie generation can you now please step aside fess. This discussion is the for living ancestors. Lol, it’s a joke, come back here.

 

Who is Samuel Okwaraji?

Samuel Okwaraji with Nigeria Super Eagles

Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji (19 May 1964 – 12 August 1989) was a professional footballer who played internationally for Nigeria. He was also a qualified lawyer who had a masters in international law from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome. He collapsed and died of congestive heart failure in the 77th minute of a World Cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on 12 August 1989.
Okwaraji was born on 19 May 1964 in Orlu, Imo State, Nigeria.

 

But seriously, how did the story got circulated nationwide despite the fact that social media was yet birthed? Euphemistically, the irony of how everyone heard the same storyline is really amazing. Kudos to the fabricators. This story should make top 10 in the list of World’s most populous widespread stories ever during the non-internet era.

The story has different versions though, all leading to the same end. Grab your popcorn and zobo while you scroll through the version I was fed. It goes thus;

“On a beautiful day, a match between India and Nigeria was fixed. Well, it was a tournament actually.

Indians who happens to possess superpowers with ability to convert the ball into anything they desired has been dominating the tournament thus far [in the supposedly tournament]. Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Spain, and even England were all flogged by India.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles on the other hand didn’t took it lightly too, as they’ve valiantly crushed all the opponents they had on their end, advancing them to the final clash with India to claim the trophy.

And finally, the day of the event commenced [Final Clash Between India, and Nigeria]. The Super Eagles were ready, so was India.

Samuel Okwaraji, who happens to be the captain of the team at the time had a wife whom he loved so much. Few minutes to the game, while with his wife for final blessings ahead of the match, the wife gave him [Okwaraji] a ring with instructions to wear it on the field when the game commences. This because, the stories heard of India’s team being a dreadful opponent and how they could convert ball into anything! Lion head, fire, and all sorts…

He collected the ring from his wife and kept it in his pocket [well, I really do not know if football jersey had pocket-space back in the days. Lol. 😀], kissed her [the wife] and went straight to the dressing room to join his teammates.

Finally, the whistle was blown and the match began. As earlier expected, Indian Men’s Team began performing magics on the field. They would turn the ball into fire, lion head, rock, tiger and then score a goal. Ike Shorunmu who happens to be the keeper got tired and wouldn’t even dare try to make an attempt to save the ball except he wants to get burnt alive by the fire. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 … 78, the goals kept coming…

Meanwhile, the rule of the game given by the Indians is/was, “if Nigeria was able to score just a goal it will be aggregated to 100 and Nigeria wins.” Whereby, the first to reach 100 goals own the trophy.

Gbosh, Gbash, Juata, Gbaga, Gba!, the goals kept entering Super Eagles’ net until it got to 99:0.

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From the crowd, Okwaraji’s wife voice was heard screaming to Okwaraji; “The RING!, Wear The RING!!!“.

Okwaraji who remembered he had kept the ring inside his pocket then brought it out and thrust it into his finger and some ancestral powers filled him in.

The ball got to him and he began dribbling everyone in the Indians’ team till he got to the goalkeeper and he kicked the ball with all the powers in him. The ball turned into a heavy rock and went into the net.

Goal!!!!!!! It’s a goal for Nigeria!!!!! And that was how Nigeria won India 100 : 99.

After kicking the ball, he [Samuel Okwaraji] slumped and died instantly.

When the news of his death got to his younger brother, he insisted he will juggle the ball until Okwaraji’s burial was finished. And if the ball falls to the ground, they should bury him [the brother] with his brother [Samuel Okwaraji].

Well, he did juggled the ball pretty well and prevented it from falling, so he wasn’t buried along with his brother.

After the match, India was then banned from the game of football till FURTHER NOTICE.”

This was the best selling street fiction story of Samuel Okwaraji.


But was Samuel Okwaraji a real life character? Yes he is. In fact, it was told of him to be one of the best player in the Super Eagles team during his time. He was also said to be better than even the legendary Austin Jay Jay Okocha (according to people sha o).

Written by Okoro Daniel O.

Biography Of Samuel Okwaraji?

Samuel Okwaraji with Nigeria Super Eagles

Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji (19 May 1964 – 12 August 1989) was a professional footballer who played internationally for Nigeria. He was also a qualified lawyer who had a masters in international law from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome. He collapsed and died of congestive heart failure in the 77th minute of a World Cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on 12 August 1989.
Okwaraji was born on 19 May 1964 in Orlu, Imo State, Nigeria.

 

Career


Samuel Okwaraji had a career in Europe which included playing for AS Roma (1984-1985), NK Dinamo Zagreb (1985-1986), Austria Klagenfurt (1986-1987), VfB Stuttgart (1987-1989) and SSV Ulm 1846 (loan) (1987-1988) while finishing his education in law. In his short stay with Dinamo Zagreb, Samuel scored 3 goals in a friendly game vs NK Budućnost Hodošan. The game was played on 30 April 1986, and Dinamo Zagreb won 12–0. Samuel’s only official game for Dinamo in the Yugoslav First League was as a substitute on 18 May 1986 against FK Priština. The game was played at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, the 29th round of 1985/86 season. Dinamo Zagreb won 4:3.

He was playing with Belgian side K. Berchem Sport at the time of his death.

International Career


He made the Green Eagles squad in 1988 and at that year’s African Nations Cup where he scored one of the fastest goals in the history of the championship against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. He played along until the final match, where the Eagles lost to their perennial rivals Cameroon by a lone goal. Okwaraji also made 4 appearances for the Nigerian Olympic team in 1988, one during the qualifiers, and 3 at the Olympics themselves in Nigeria’s 3 games in the group D.

Last Game And Death


Okwaraji collapsed ten minutes from the end of a 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos. He died from possible complications of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as an autopsy showed that the 25-year-old had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

Did He Truly Slumped And Died On The Field While Playing Football Game For Nigeria?

Yes, he died in a match with Angola in Surulere Stadium in 1990.

What Was His Last Game?

1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos

How Old Was He When He Died?

He was 25-years old. He died at the age of 25.

Did He Had A Another Profession Before Joining Super Eagles?

Well, the answer is a little bit skeptical. But it was said that he was a medical doctor. While some said he was a lawyer before joining the Super Eagles team.


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