By Sam Ade, Abuja
The Nigeria Football Federation has expressed deep shock and sorrow at news of the death of former Super Eagles’ midfield ace, Thompson Oliha.
Oliha, 44, died in a private hospital in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Sunday morning, after complaining of malaria. He was said to have been on the bench while Kwara Football Academy, where he worked as a coach, played a Malian team on Saturday.
General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Musa Amadu, lamented the player’s sudden demise on Sunday.
“This is a tragedy of huge proportions. Oliha was one of the best midfielders to have played for Nigeria. His comments and analyses on Nigeria football over the years have been quite informed and useful.
“The Nigeria Football Federation and the entire Nigeria football family mourn Oliha’s passing. He was certainly one of the nation’s greats and acquitted himself brilliantly in the national colours. Now, we have lost another member of the Golden Generation, following the deaths of Uche Okafor and Rashidi Yekini.”
Thompson Oliha featured for a couple of the country’s leading clubs in his days, such as Iwuanyanwu Nationale FC and Bendel Insurance FC, before joining up with Africa Sports of Cote d’Ivoire, after which he featured for Ironi Ashdod FC in Israel and later Antalyaspor FC in
He first played for the senior national team in a 1988 Olympic Games qualifying match against Algeria in Annaba in January 1988, and then became a fixture in the team at the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Algeria.
He was a member of the renowned Golden Generation, which qualified Nigeria for her first-ever FIFA World Cup finals, won the Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria in Tunisia in 1994 and then reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup finals in USA the same year.
Meanwhile, Keshi has described the death of ex-Super Eagles midfielder, Thompson Oliha as
sad and shocking. Reacting to his passage in Abuja, Keshi said he was one of the few players that was dedicated to the national team, saying the nation lost him too early.
“I call him ‘the General’ in our playing days because he was simply fantastic and very dedicated, very versatile too. I know we’ll all go some day but I think we lost Oliha too early and I pray God will grant his soul eternal rest and his family the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.