Remembering One of Nigeria's Greatest Football Players

Artist Olaku Abiodun paints a Nigerian football tragedy.

Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Pan-Atlantic University

Glimpse of Glory (1989) by Olaku AbiodunOriginal Source: Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 1
00:00

Nigerian artist Olaku Abiodun is an indigene of Ogun State, who was born on 29th December 1958. He was trained by the world-renowned Nigerian artist Professor Yusuf Grillo and influenced by Kolade Oshinowo and the late Isiaka Osunde.

In this painting remembers one of Nigeria's football greats...

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 2
00:00

...in the person of the late Sam Okwaraji, depicted with his trademark dreadlocks.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 3
00:00

Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji was born on the 19th May in 1964 and died on the 12th of August in 1989. He was a professional footballer who played internationally for Nigeria.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 4
00:00

Okwaraji had a career in Europe which included playing for AS Roma, NK Dinamo Zagreb, Austria Klagenfurt, VfB Stuttgart and SSV Ulm 1846.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 5
00:00

He made the Green Eagles squad in 1988. At that year's African Nations Cup, he scored one of the fastest goals in the history of the championship against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 6
00:00

His passing was an early sunset to a promising career that left Nigeria stunned.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 7
00:00

Okwaraji collapsed and died ten minutes from the end of a 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos. An autopsy showed that the 25-year-old had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 8
00:00

He was known for his exceptional football talent, his humility and patriotism.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 9
00:00

Promises to honour him and cater for his family manifested in a bust outside the national stadium.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 10
00:00

Perhaps, the reason he casts a dejected figure, and the onlookers stand motionless.

Remembering Sam Okwaraji 11
00:00

The artists use of black and grey tones to depict silhouettes and shadows, creates the perfect mood for this painting. Olaku Abiodun couldn't have titled the artwork any better. It is indeed a representation of'A glimpse of glory'.

Credits: Story

Michael Oseghale: Museum Manager
Ikeddy Isiguzo: Writer, The Cable

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Cradle of Creativity
From ancient African rock art to contemporary brushstrokes
View theme
Google apps