By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Former Super Eagles midfielder, Etim Esin, is still disconsolate 29 years after the demise of his international teammate and friend, Samuel Okwaraji, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Okwaraji born 19 May 1964, slumped and died of a suspected heart failure in the 77th minute of Nigeria's 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola at the National Stadium in Lagos on 12 August 1989.
Nigeria won 1-0, but ultimately failed to qualify for the World Cup hosted by Italy the following year.
Esin recalls the sad day while speaking with Completesportsnigeria.com on Saturday, August 12, the 29th year memorial of the late Nigeria hero.
"Samuel Okwaraji was a great footballer, one of the best the country had back then," Esin told Completesportsnigeria.com soberly.
"His technique was good and of course he was a committed player.
"We were friends and I cried so much when he was declared dead. I was the closest player to him at the spot he fell. We thought it was concussion and that he would be okay later. But news came in that he had died.
"As a person, he was jovial, selfless and liked paying attention to details.
"I miss Okwaraji till this day, and I don't know if the promises made to his family have been redeemed for the selfless service he rendered to Nigeria. That's why we need to honour our heroes while alive not when they're dead.
"Okwaraji's family deserves better. I think former President Ibrahim Babangida gave his family #50,000 back then or so."
Okwaraji was a Masters Degree holder in Law from the University of Rome, Italy and he played for clubs like AS Roma (youth team); VfB Stuttgart and Dinamo Zagreb.