Leadership (Abuja)

20 February 2013

Nigeria: Okey Isima Was a Gentleman - Chukwu

Former Super Eagles coach, Christian Chukwu has described the late Okey Isima who passed away on Monday in Abuja as a gentleman. He described him as an intelligent man and suddenly thinking of their heroics in 1980 Nations Cup finals against Algeria which Nigeria won. Henry Nwosu, who broke the news on Monday told supersport.com that the death of Okey Isima, has left them in shock.

"I'm still shocked by the news because Okey was such a gentleman who was intelligent. Suddenly the memories of 1980 and how we won the Nations Cup is beginning to play back. The memories of playing with him in the final of the 1980 final against Algeria is beginning to look like yesterday though it was more than 30 years now. Our paths also crossed beyond the national team then because we were teammates at (Enugu) Rangers. He was a very professional footballer and always put in everything in matches and even training back then," said Chukwu who is also known as Chairman. Chukwu and Nwosu were members of Nigeria's squad that won the Afcon in 1980 alongside Isima.

Nwosu said the late Okey was a big influence in his career in the national team: "Okey was a close friend. When I came into the national team around the late 1970s, early 1980s, he was always encouraging me as I was still in schoolboy then. He was very experienced at over 20 years in age at that time and was playing for a big club like Rangers. His death is a big loss to his family, the nation and everyone close to him. He had big plans of his own to help develop the game in the country but unfortunately he's gone." Isima died at the age of 56 in Abuja.

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