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Colleagues mourn 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner Ibrahim Babangida

  • Brother Tijani, wife, son, maid hospitalised

Former Nigerian footballers are mourning the death of 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner, Ibrahim Babangida, who will be buried in Kaduna today after he died in a car crash.

The crash also left his brother and ex-Super Eagles winger, Tijani Babangida, his wife, son and maid hospitalised.

Atlanta 1996 Olympic gold medallist and General Secretary, Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Babayaro, broke the news that Babangida died in the accident, which happened along the Kaduna-Zaria road on Thursday.

Babayaro also confirmed that the deceased was taken to Kaduna on Thursday and will be laid to rest in Kaduna after Jumat prayers today.

“As a Muslim, he will be buried according to Islamic rites after the Jumat prayer,” he said.

Another Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games gold medalist, Garba Lawal, a former teammate of both Babangidas and others, are also still offering prayers for the quick recovery of the remaining Babangidas in the hospital.

Lawal said, “Ibrahim Babangida and his brother Tijani Bagabgida are like my brothers. We played at club and national team levels together for years, especially, Ibrahim, we played together at the same club before he moved to Stationery Stores while I joined Julius Berger.

“I called some members of their family, no one among their sisters can say anything because of how sad it is. Our prayer is just that God should grant him eternal rest. We are also praying for Tijani’s wife, who is in critical condition, to get well soon and I think Tijani is getting better already because I spoke with him.”

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Other ex-internationals, including former Eagles keeper Ike Shorunmu, Victor Agali, Edema Fuludu and Jonathan Akpoborie also got the news first from our correspondent and were left with few words and the urgency to reach out to his brother, Tijani, who was recovering in the hospital.

“This is so sad, I have to call TJ (Tijani Babangida immediately),” Akpoborie said.

“I just got back from training and I am seeing this message from you, I have to reach out to them immediately,” Agali also said.

“The death of Ibrahim is very sad indeed. I spoke to him and I’m also aware his wife, son and maid are in critical condition. We shall continue to put them in our prayers. Ibrahim is an ex-player from a unique family. His brothers, Tijani and Haruna, are also footballers as many people know,” president of PFAN Task Force, Harrison Jalla, said.

The news of the U-17 World Cup winner’s death also left many of his former teammates in shock when they found out from our correspondent. That included his teammate from the World Cup in Japan, Festus Odini.

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“Are you sure this is true?” Odini asked before lamenting the loss.

“Ibrahim was my very good friend from the days of the World Cup in Japan. And he has remained afterwards. That is all I can say for now.”

The late Ibrahim, 47, featured for local sides Bank of The North, Stationery Stores and Katsina United on the domestic scene before joining Dutch side Volendam in 1997.

By Joseph Asubiojo with Agency Reports
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