Factional President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Ambassador Chris Giwa and the head coach of Japan ’93 cadet U-17 national team, Ambassador Fanny Amun, have sent their condolences on the death of coach Musa Abdullahi who died late this afternoon in Lokoja but was buried some minutes ago in Kotonkarfe in Kogi state.
The former Flying Eagles coach had been down to an illness he suffered in 2007, prompting his friends to call for financial help from the National Sports Commission, the Nigeria Football Federation and well-meaning Nigerians for his assistance.
Amun described him as a “jolly good friend, brother and quintesential professional coach. We took the Golden Eaglets to Japan together in 1993 when he showed such a wonderful skill as a coach.”
Giwa in a telephone chat described the coach as a “great coach whose sickness had denied us of his repertoire of football coaching skills.”
Mgbolu with a shaky voice was shocked when called for reaction said, “May God forgive him all his sins and grant him peace in his bossom. Abdullahi was one friend if you know is just too marvellous. It is painful we lost him. He fought a great fight to live. I pray God to give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
Abdullahi, who also coached the Golden Eaglets, suffered stroke prior to the U-20 World Cup in 2007 and was partially paralysed. 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.
It would be recalled that the spokesman of the Committee of Abdullahi Friends, Austin Mgbolu, said in a statement then that there was the need to rally to the support of a coach who had contributed so much to the growth and development of age-group football in the country.
“We are appealing to soccer-loving Nigerians to come to the aid of the coach. This is the time to help a coach that has brought honour and glory to the country in his active days,” he said.
“Let’s not procrastinate; let’s rise up and help. The time to act is now,” Mgbolu, a former Head of Public Relations at the Nigeria Football Association.
Mgbolu pointed out that it was saddening that after winning football laurels in the service of the nation, Abdullahi was being abandoned to his fate by the government and people of Nigeria.
“The coach can hardly talk as he has since lost his voice. It is gladdening, however, to learn that he is gradually recovering from paralysis that had affected his speech. His speech had been blurred as a result of the stroke.”
Mgbolu said Abdullahi had exhausted all his savings on procuring treatment and had resorted to traditional healers.
The former Golden Eaglet and Flying Eagles coach also coached such teams like Dolphin FC of Port Harcourt.
The coach is survived by his wife, a public servant working with Lokoja Local Government. He had four children and four grand children.