Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa has paid tribute to Nigerian fans who lost their lives while watching the country’s semifinal clash against South Africa at the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday.
The highly intense game which went into penalty shootout after regulation and extra time had ended 1-1 saw the Nigerians across different venues slump and die.
William Troost-Ekong had given the Eagles the lead in the 67th minute before Tehobo Mokoena grabbed the equaliser in the 90th minute, forcing the game to extra time and penalties.
The tension in the game led to the passing away of an All Progressive Party chieftain and a former member of the House of Representatives, who represented the Ika federal constituency of Delta State Cairo Ojougboh.
The ex-Niger Delta Development Commission boss passed away the moment a penalty kick was awarded against Nigeria.
Others are; Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University Malete, Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi, a corps member serving in Adamawa State only known as Samuel, Mikhail Osundiji a sales representative working with Nestle Nigeria, and Mr. Osondu Nwoye an Anambra-born billionaire businessman who slumped while watching the game in Bouake.
Reacting to the news, the Eagles skipper along with the players observed a one-minute silence for the deceased while defender Chidozie Awaziem led the prayer for the fallen fans.
Musa also went on to reveal that should the team win the trophy on Sunday, it would be dedicated to the fans who lost their lives.
“We lost four good Nigerians because of the game yesterday and we will have a one-minute silence after that (Chidozie) Awaziem will lead us in prayer with their families because they need our support right now and by Sunday ‘Insha Allah’ we’re gonna lift that trophy for them and the country,” he said.
The Nigeria Football Federation also put up a statement commiserating with the families of the deceased, “During our semi-final match, we tragically lost few supporters,” the NFF posted on social media.
“In a cruel twist of fate, their fervent passion for the beautiful game unwittingly led them to their final moments
“As the Nigeria vs South Africa match unfolded, they were lost in the thrill of the game, unaware of the looming danger. May their souls find eternal peace, forever remembered for their love of football and the togetherness it brings. Rest in peace.”