Former federal lawmaker from Kaduna State, Senator Shehu Sani, has called for payment of pension to retired sports men and women in the country.
Sani who made the appeal at the memorial lecture organised to mark the tenth anniversary of the demise of Nigeria’s former national team goalkeeper, Best Ogedegbe.
The lecture was organised by the Oyo State chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, in collaboration with the family of the legendary goalkeeper.
Sani noted with sadness that Nigeria does not celebrate its sports heroes.
“Nigerians only care for their athletes when they are in active service. The moment they retire, we forget them,” he said.
The radical politician, while lauding the organisers of the memorial lecture, advised that the commemoration be made an annual event to immortalise the late Best Ogedegbe.
While delivering an emotional speech at the memorial lecture, a former mate of the late footballer who is also chief lecturer at the event, Chief Segun Odegbami (MON), lamented that most retired footballers in Nigeria, especially those residing in Oyo State were not celebrated.
Reminiscing on the good times he shared with late Ogedegbe as footballers, Odegbami described the late goalkeeper as the best role model for Nigerian goalkeepers.
“Best Ogedegbe was a confident footballer and so good that it was difficult for any player to score against him”, the retired striker nicknamed Mathematical Odegbami asserted.
The Chairman, Sports Writers of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, Mr Niyi Alebiosu, in his remarks, said the memorial lecture was put together to ensure that the achievement of the legendary goalkeeper who was in goal when IICC Shooting Stars Football Club and Nigeria’s national team won their first major trophies, was not forgotten.
Other associates of the late goalkeeper who graced the event such as Dr. Felix Owolabi Akinloye, Chief Zion Ogunfeyinmi, Mutiu Adepoju, Kehinde Jayefus, recalled with nostalgia the heroic deeds of the late Ogedegbe.
A former Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Oyo State, Mr Yomi Oke, a former Flying Eagles player, Tajudeen Disu, a former 400m Olympic champion for the U.S, Lee Evans, were among the dignitaries who attended the occasion.