Google honours Nigeria’s Samuel Okwaraji on 55th posthumous birthday

One of the world’s biggest internet company, Google, has marked the 55th posthumous birthday of late Nigerian football star, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji, with a Google Doodle.

A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures.

Samuel Okwaraji was a professional footballer who played internationally for Nigeria.

He was also a qualified lawyer who had a masters in international law from the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.

He collapsed and died of what doctors said was congestive heart failure in the 77th minute of a World Cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on August 12, 1989.

Okwaraji was born on May 19, 1964 in Orlu, Imo State.

He had a football career in Europe, which included playing for AS Roma (1984-1985), NK Dinamo Zagreb (1985-1986), Austria Klagenfurt (1986-1987), VfB Stuttgart (1987-1989) and SSV Ulm 1846 (loan) (1987-1988) while finishing his education in law.

In his short stay with Dinamo Zagreb, Okwaraji scored three goals in a friendly game vs NK Budućnost Hodošan. The game was played on April 30, 1986, and Dinamo Zagreb won 12-0.

Okwaraji’s only official game for Dinamo in the Yugoslav First League was as a substitute on May 18, 1986 against FK Priština. The game was played at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, the 29th round of 1985/86 season. Dinamo Zagreb won 4:3.

He made the Green Eagles squad in 1988 and 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. He played along until the final match, where the Eagles lost to their perennial rivals Cameroon by a lone goal.

Okwaraji collapsed 10 minutes from the end of a 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos. He died from possible complications of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as an autopsy showed that the 25-year-old had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

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