The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has expressed sadness and sorrow following the deaths on Wednesday of former Super Falcons’ and U-17 national team coach Godwin Izilein and Kayode Tijani, a football journalist.
Ademola Olajire, Director of Communications at NFF, announced this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, saying that the NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, was shocked at the passing of the two respected figures in Nigerian football.
“We were preparing for our match against South Africa in the AFCON semi-finals, and then we heard news of the passing of Coach Izilein.
“And just as we were celebrating the victory, we were again assailed with the sad news of the death of Kayode Tijani.
“We are in mourning, but we are comforted that both men left their giant footprints in the sands of time.
“Coach Izilein not only represented Nigeria at the senior level; he won the Women Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Falcons in 2004 as head coach, among other remarkable achievements.
“Kayode Tijani was an international journalist of repute and took his forte of record-keeping most seriously,” he said.
Izilein died at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, while Tijani breathed his last at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
Tijani, who has been buried in Lagos according to Islamic rites, worked for several local and international publications, including FAME magazine, Complete Football magazine, and the pan-African football magazine African Soccer.
In 1995, he co-founded Nigeria’s first-ever all-sport daily sports publication, Sportlight.