Sports Minister says late Sofoluwe was ahead of his time
Former Super Eagles’ defender Yisa Sofoluwe has, sadly, died on Tuesday after being in coma for five days.
The 53-year-old Sofoluwe was admitted at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) since last Thursday after it was diagnosed that he had mild cerebral atrophy.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, mourning the late defender on Wednesday said Yisa Sofoluwe who died on Tuesday was somebody who came before his time.
Dare, in a statement issued by his Media Office, said he was deeply shocked and sad to learn of Sofoluwe’s demise, especially as he died when help was on its way.
“The news of Sofoluwe’s death is quite devastating and one that hit me like a tornado. He was a great, committed, disciplined, humble and patriotic player.
“He came ahead of his time. No wonder he was nicknamed `the Dean of Defence’ by ace commentator Ernest Okonkwo,” the Sports Minister said.
While expressing his condolences and prayers to Sofoluwe’s wife, children, former teammates and the football community, Dare noted that Sofoluwe died just when help was on the way for him.
“He died just when help was on the way for him to pay for his surgery. But his death is a huge loss. Rest in peace `Dean of Defence’,” the minister said.
The minister had last week sent some undisclosed amount of money to one of Sofoluwe’s ex-teammates to pay part of his hospital bills.
The Nigeria Football Federation in its reaction, expressed utter shock and sorrow at the death on Tuesday night of former Nigeria defender Yisa Sofoluwe, who passed on at the age of 53 few days after being diagnosed with cerebral atrophy.
President of the NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, said he was nonplussed after receiving report that the former defender, nicknamed ‘Dean of Defence’ by the legendary commentator Ernest Okonkwo, had breathed his last just when the process had been activated for a medical operation on him.
“It is another sad, sad day. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were lamenting the loss of former goalkeeper and coach Joseph Erico. Now, Yisa Sofoluwe. That man was a gem in the green-and-white and did his very best for Nigeria whenever he was on the field. Personally, I have sweet memories of Yisa Sofoluwe.
“It is more painful that he left just when help was coming to him from everywhere and the process was on to rectify his medical condition. We loved him but God loves him more. May his soul rest in peace.”