Keshi mourns ex-Nigeria midfielder Thompson Oliha
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has spoken of his devastation at the death of former team-mate Thompson Oliha.
The 44-year-old former Super Eagles midfielder’s death, from malaria complications, in Kwara’s state capital, Ilorin, was announced on Sunday.
Oliha was in the Super Eagles squad for five years.
I’m completely devastated by the passing of Thompson Oliha
” Stephen Keshi – Nigeria coach
He was a key member of the squad when Nigeria won their second Africa Cup of Nations title in 1994 in Tunisia.
“I’m completely devastated by the passing of Thompson Oliha,” Keshi told BBC Sport.
“It is with a heavy heart that realisation of what I hoped were just rumours are now, in fact, true.”
Oliha represented Nigeria at two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, in 1992 and 1994.
He was in the Super Eagles squad at the 1994 World Cup in the United States – Nigeria’s first appearance in the global event.
“Thompson was quiet, selfless, dedicated and friendly,” Keshi said.
“I feel proud to have played alongside him in the colours of Nigeria.
“My prayers and condolences go out to his family at this very difficult time.”
Oliha played for his home club Bendel Insurance and Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now Heartland) before moving to Ivory Coast where he played for Africa Sports.
He also played in Israel and Turkey before a niggling knee injury forced him to retire at the age of 27.
Since retiring from the game, Oliha – who also represented his country at the 1987 Fifa Under-20 World Cup – had remained part of the game.
Until his death, Oliha was one the coaches at the famous Kwara Football Academy (KFA) in Ilorin
Source: BBC Sports