Feature: Nigeria 2015, football’s fallen heroes

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2015 has been a wonderful year for Nigerian football but while there has been loads of fun memories, the game also had some sad moments.

Here, 366football.com recaps some of the sour moments in the one sport that unarguably unites all Nigerians irrespective of religion or ethnicity.


Sam Ibiam

Sam Henshaw Ibiam (4 April 1925 – 2 December 2015), popularly known as The Black Magnet during his playing days, was a Nigerian footballer who played as a goalkeeper for the pioneer Nigerian national football team who were regarded as the “1949 UK Tourists”.

It is claimed that he conceded just five goals in his nine years of representing Nigeria till he retired from international football in 1958

Ibiam, died this year at the age of 90. Pa Ibiam was part the UK selected team of 18 Nigerian footballers that toured England in August 1949.


Wilfred Agbonavbare

Agbonavbare played for New Nigeria Bank F.C. and BCC Lions FC. In 1990 he moved to Spain where he would spend the rest of his career, starting with Rayo Vallecano in Segunda División.

The former Nigeria goalkeeper, Wilfred Agbonavbare, passed away early this year at a Spanish hospital, following a protracted battle with cancer. He was a member of Nigeria’s U-21 Mexico 1983 Flying Eagles, 1984 AFCON silver medalist and 1994 AFCON gold medalist.


Abdul Haruna

Former Heartland and Kano Pillars forward Abdul Haruna also died this year after collapsing on the pitch during a friendly football match between Kano professionals and a selected amateur team in Kano. He was 27 years old.


David Oniya

David Faramola Oniya was a Nigerian footballer who played for Malaysia Premier League club T-Team as a defender.

On 13 June 2015, Oniya died after collapsing on the pitch in Malaysia during a friendly between his club T-Team and Kelantan.[4] His body was laid to rest at a Christian cemetery in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan two weeks later.

We at 366football.com say “May their souls rest in peace, Amen.”