The former Captain of the defunct Abiola Babes Football Club and a former Nigeria international, Dahiru Sadi, has paid glowing tributes to the late Moshood Abiola, who is being remembered for his contribution to the development of Nigeria on June 12.
Mr. Saidi, who currently is the President of the Association of Professional Footballers of Nigeria, the umbrella body for Nigerian footballers past and present, told PREMIUM TIMES in Kaduna that MKO was a man who will forever be remembered not just for his contributions to sports development but for his role in nation-building and sacrifice for democracy.
Abiola Babes remains one of the most flamboyant teams Nigeria ever had as players were flown by air to match venues and players embarked on foreign trips for medical checks.
Mr. Saidi said several years after, no club in Nigeria has matched up in terms of players’ welfare and general administration.
“If anybody wants to say anything about Abiola it is me because I even captained his team,” Mr. Saidi said in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
He continued, “In short all the good things people are saying about Abiola are true, there is no professional club in Nigeria up till now like Abiola Babes in terms of players’ welfare and running of the team. Generally, it is true that sometimes we do fly for local matches, that is even small.
“By mid-season, injured players are flown to Germany for treatment and by the end of the season players are also taken to Germany, in terms of players’ welfare, there is no team in Nigeria like Abiola Babes,” he said.
Abiola Babes played in Abeokuta and were promoted to the Nigeria First Division in 1984.
They won the Nigerian FA CUP in 1985 and 1987.
After a period of hiatus in the 1990s, the team was reformed in May 2000 but was disbanded the next year for lack of funds. Their last game was in the 2001 Challenge Cup against NIPOST FC.
Some talented players like Toyin Ayinla, Dominic Iorfa, Muda Lawal, Best Ogedengbe, Yisa Sofoluwe, Rashidi Yekini, Friday Ekpo amongst others all laced their boots for Abiola Babes.
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