The Nigeria sports fraternity has been hit with yet another deadly blow following the passing on of a former Nigeria national football team player, Jide Dina.
According to associates of the late defender, Dina passed on Thursday after a protracted illness.
Though not a ‘very popular’ name in football circles especially among the younger generation, Dina is being remembered by those who knew him well enough and also witnessed his exploits for both club and country, in his active days.
His former teammate, Segun Odegbami, on Saturday paid glowing tributes to the hard-tackling defender, who was part of the Green Eagles squad that won a bronze medal at the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Accra, Ghana.
Odegbami in his tribute to Dina wrote: “Not too many football fans would recall a Jide Dinà and his exploits in Nigerian football. But I do, because we are of the same generation, and we both grew up in Jos. Whilst he attended St. John’s College, I was in St. Murumba College, and the two schools were staunch football rivals.
“We were both invited to the national team around the same period in the miď-1970s, he from Mighty Jets FC of Jos where he manned the central defense of that great team, and I from IICC Shooting Stars FC.
“Jide, surely, was a great player, a gentleman to the core, and a rock-solid defender in the mold of Ismaila Mabo who was his mentor and coach.
“I commiserate with his family as well as the entire Nigerian football family for the loss of yet another one of the country’s great sons and heroes!” Odegbami added.
The Minister for Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, on his part described the death of Dina as painful, even as he recalled how he watched the former Mighty Jets of Jos’ captain in action.
“So sad to learn about the death of Jide Dina whom I watched live in the colours of Mighty Jets and the Green Eagles. He was a great player, robust, rugged, possessed fierce shots and aerial power. My condolences to his family, may God bless his soul,” the Minister was quoted as saying in a statement issued through his media aides.
This is the second death in 2021 of a member of the AFCON 78 team.
Joe Erico, a goalkeeper with that same bronze-winning team, passed on in January.