Memories of Nigeria’s legendary goalkeeper, who died ten years ago, Anthony Best Ogedegbe, will come alive as prominent Nigerians made up of politicians, ex-internationals, sports administrators sports writers and football fans will on Wednesday gather in Ibadan to honour him.
Sports enthusiasts will be brought together by the Oyo State chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, which is partnering with the family of the late goalkeeper to organise a memorial lecture to mark the tenth anniversary of the demise of the football star.
According to a press release signed by the Secretary of the Organising Committee of the memorial lecture, who is also the Secretary of SWAN in Oyo State, Mr Adewale Tijani, the memorial lecture would hold at the Seminar Hall of Government College, Apata area in Ibadan.
The release disclosed that the dignitaries expected to grace the occasion include a former federal lawmaker from Kaduna State, Senator Shehu Dani; the Chairman, Surulere local government in Lagos State, Tajudeen Ajide; an ex-international, Tajudeen Disu as well as a veteran sports journalist, Mr Kayode Tijani.
Other dignitaries invited to the memorial lecture are the Chairman, Oyo State Football Association, Oba James Odeniran, a former FIFA and CAF Technical Instructor, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, and a former Deputy Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Tunde Olaniyan and Chief Zion Ogunfehinmi.
The release also added that a close friend of the late footballer who played with him in Shooting Stars and Green Eagles, Chief Segun Odegbami, will deliver a lecture titled, “Solving the Goalkeeping Problem of Super Eagles: The Best Option”, while Dr. Felix Owolabi-Akinloye will speak on the exploits of the late footballer during his life time.
The Chairman of the Best Ogedegbe Memorial Lecture Organizing Committee, Mr. Femi Okenla, said the programme would reminisence on the life and times of late Ogedegbe and also afford young football fans the opportunity to know about the legendary goalkeeper.
“We are putting this memorial lecture together to honour one of Nigeria’s heroes, the late Best Ogedegbe. Best gave his all for Nigeria. He lived for Nigeria. He used his talent for the glory of this country. He made millions of Nigerians happy during his life time. Such outstanding personality should never be forgotten. This is why we are partnering with his family to honour this great Nigerian,” Okenla said.
The Chairman of SWAN in Oyo State, Mr. Niyi Alebiosu, on his part, explained why the association is involved in the memorial programme for the late soccer legend, saying, “We see it as our duty to honour this illustrious citizen of Nigeria who was one of our exemplary sportsmen that made our country a power house in African football.
“Having this memorial lecture is our own way of ensuring that the exploits of this patriotic and extremely gifted Nigerian who used his talent to promote Nigerian sports is not forgotten.”
The widow of the late soccer legend, who is a retired director at the state government owned Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), Mrs. Folasade Ogedegbe, applauded the honour being accorded her late husband, pledging to give her support to the programme and ensure that it is successful.
Ogedegbe was in goal for the IICC Shooting Stars in 1976 when they made history as the first Nigerian club side to win a continental trophy by beating Tonnere Kalala of Cameroon at the final of the African Winners Cup.
He also manned the goal post for Nigeria’s senior national soccer team, then known as the Green Eagles, when they won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 1980.
The legendary goalkeeper died on the 28th of September 2009 at the age of 55, following an eye surgery which made him fall into coma.
The memorial lecture is holding on the day the legendary goalkeeper was buried.