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Ex-Super Eagles defender, Yisa Sofoluwe, dies at 53


A former Super Eagles defender, Yisa Sofoluwe has passed away late on Tuesday night after a battle with a brain ailment.

The Punch reported that the 53-year-old was diagnosed with mild cerebral atrophy at the Prince and Life Medical Hospital, Ikorodu, Lagos, but was moved to LUTH on Friday, Feb 6th.

Having suffered a relapse, the retired footballer who is regarded as one of the best defenders to represent the Super Eagles was transferred to LUTH where he was placed on life support.

Confirming his demise, Ex-international Waidi Akanni, a close friend of Sofoluwe said, “Sofoluwe is gone. We lost him this evening. May God rest his soul. We will go there (LUTH) tomorrow (Wednesday) to get his remains.”

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Dosu Joseph, an ex-Eagles goalkeeper and Atlanta 1996 Olympics gold medallist, also confirmed Sofoluwe’s death by saying, “Thanks for your support, we lost him, another icon is gone. To God be the glory.”

Nicknamed, Minister of Defence by ace broadcaster, Ernest Okonkwo, Sofoluwe had 40 caps and scored one goal for Nigeria and was a member of the Eagles squads which reached the final of the 1984 and 1988 AFCON tournaments.

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He began his footballing career at a local club called ITT around 1981/82 before his invitation to the Flying Eagle ins 1983. He was part of the Silver medal-winning team that lost two Nations Cup finals to Cameroon in 1984 (3-1) and 1988 (1-0).

His last outing for the country was during the qualifiers for the 1988 Seoul Olympics qualifier which the country’s national team managed to secure qualification.

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Unfortunately, the defender didn’t make the tournament and in an interview with Vanguard, he said, “the engagement of Manfred Honner scuttled my going to the Olympics because he came and scattered the team. So that was the last time I played for Nigeria.”

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He also played for Abiola Babes in 1984, ’85, ’86, ’87. He played the National Challenge Cup – won it twice in 1984 and ’87 and were runners up in ’85 and ’86.