•By Wale Joseph
A former federal lawmaker from Kaduna state, Senator Shehu Sani has advised that retired sports men and women in Nigeria deserved to be paid pension.
Speaking in Ibadan on Wednesday, 6 November, 2019, at the memorial lecture organised to mark the tenth anniversary of the demise of Nigeria’s former National Team goalkeeper, Late Best Ogedegbe by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Oyo State chapter in collaboration with the family of the legendary goalkeeper, Senator Sani noted with sadness that Nigeria do not celebrate their sports heroes.
“Nigerians only care for their athletes when they are in active service. The moment they retired, we forget them,” the Senator said.
The radical politician, while commending the organisers of the memorial lecture, advised that the commemoration should be made an annual event to immortalise late Best Ogedegbe.
Giving an emotional speech at the memorial lecture, a former teammate of the late footballer who is also guest lecturer at the event, Chief Segun Odegbami (MON) also lamented that most retired footballers in Nigeria, especially those residing in Oyo state are uncelebrated.
Reminiscing on the good times he shared with late Ogedegbe as footballers, Chief Odegbami described the late goalkeeper as the best role model for Nigerian goalkeepers.
"Best Ogedegbe was a confident footballer and so good that it was always difficult for players to score against him,” the retired striker nicknamed Mathematical Odegbami asserted.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of Oyo State chapter of SWAN, Mr Niyi Alebiosu explained that the memorial lecture was put together to ensure that the feats of the legendary goalkeeper who was in goal when IICC Shooting Stars Football Club and Nigeria’s national team won their first major trophies, were not forgotten.
Other associates of the late goalkeeper who graced the event like Dr Felix Owolabi Akinloye MON, Chief Zion Ogunfeyinmi, Mutiu Adepoju, Kehinde Jayefus recalled with nostalgia the heroic deeds of late Ogedegbe.
A former Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Oyo State, Mr Yomi Oke; a former Flying Eagles player, Tajudeen Disu; and a former 400m Olympic Champion from the US, Lee Evans were among the dignitaries who attended the memorial lecture.