A former Flying Eagles Coach, Musa Abdullahi, died on Sunday in Lokoja, Kogi State, after being down with stroke for over seven years.
Coach Abdullahi who also handled the national U17 team, the Golden Eaglets, before being hit with stroke in 2007 has since been buried according to Islamic rites. This was confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES by former Kogi United Manager, Suleiman Ahmed, who also is a close associate of the deceased.
“Yes, the news is true, Coach finally died this morning and he has since been buried according to Islamic rites” Mr. Ahmed said.
Abdullahi over the years has been seeking financial help from the National Sports Commission, the Nigeria Football Federation, and well-meaning Nigerians and though he did get some reprieve, it was not enough to cater for his mounting health bills.
Known to be an easy going individual, Abdullahi’s travails started on the eve of U-20 World Cup in 2007 when he suffered stroke and subsequently became partially paralyzed; he was relieved of the coaching job after he took ill.
His assistant at the time, Ladan Bosso, replaced him and took the team to the World Cup in Canada.
Already the NFF has sent out condolences over the painful death even as the Federation paid glowing tribute to the Late Coach.
A statement from the NFF Media Officer, Ademola Olajire, described the death of Coach Abudulahi as painful even as the NFF President Amaju Pinnick prayed for the repose of the soul of the dead.
“This is terrible news,” said NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, who spoke on telephone from Equatorial Guinea where he is on official duty for the Confederation of African Football at the 30th Africa Cup of Nations finals.
“Coach Musa Abdullahi was known by all who came across him as a gentleman to the core, a very humble, highly dedicated and tireless professional who had real passion for the job. He was just a likeable person in every respect.
“We feel very, very sad to lose him but God loves him more and he has gone to rest. Our prayer is for Almighty God to grant him peaceful rest and also grant the family he has left behind the fortitude to bear the huge loss,” Pinnick stated.
The ever-smiling Musa Abdullahi assisted Coach Fanny Amun to lead the U-17 National Team to a second FIFA U-17 World Cup title in Japan in 1993, before leading the team, several years later, to win the African title in Seychelles in 2001 and win silver at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago the same year. He also served at different times as Assistant Coach of the Senior National Team, Super Eagles