By Abimbola Ogunnaike
Former Nigerian international, Godwin Izilein, who led the Super Falcons to win the 2004 WAFCON in Johannesburg, South Africa, has passed on at the age of 81 after battling with abdominal issues.
Izilein, regarded as one of Nigeria’s most accomplished football coaches, died on Wednesday, 7 February, 2024 in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The Media Officer of Edo State-owned Bendel Insurance, Kehinde Osagiede confirmed the news.
“He died today (Wednesday) after a brief illness. He was a former Insurance coach who gave everything to discovering and nurturing football talents, both male and female, in Nigeria. The club (Insurance) is saddened by his death,” Osagiede said.
The late Izilein also coached the Golden Eaglet at the African U-17 Championship in 2005.
Recall that after their continental success in South Africa under his guidance, protesting Falcons players vowed to get their camp allowances and winning bonuses in Johannesburg before the trip back home, but angry members of the Nigerian football governing body, Nigerian Football Association (NFA) believed that Izilien masterminded the protest .
This development led to the then Chairman of Nigeria Football Association, Ibrahim Galadima refusal to pay Izilien his entitlement of $12,000 after the protest.
Successive boards of Nigerian football governing body also failed to pay Izilien his entitlement until his death.