Who is the greatest mid-discipline soccer participant in the record of Nigerian soccer?
The state is replete with a several footballers that can healthy that monthly bill – Sunday Oliseh, Mikel Obi, Jay Jay Okocha, Henry Nwosu, Friday Ekpo, Etim Esin, Samuel Garba Okoye, Haruna Ilerika, and a single or two other individuals, all exceptionally gifted players that excelled playing diverse roles in the midfield of Nigeria’s national soccer team.
Oliseh was a tricky marker and excellent passer of the ball. Jay Jay was a dribbling equipment and creative genius. Henry Nwosu was a abilities-workshop, wonderful passer and lethal shot with both equally toes. Samuel Garba Okoye was a ballerina on the ball, masterful at linking defence and assault with grace and easy relieve. Kanu Nwankwo was elegant, skilful and a great thinker with the ball.
In this constellation of superstars, even so, 1 player stands out in my head, and in my humble opinion was the biggest of them in combining all the distinctive abilities and roles – dribbler, marker, passer, keeping, scoring, and tireless, infinite marking and running.
In flexibility, he stands atop the pile.
To crown it all, to set him absolutely apart, on March 22, 1980, most likely the greatest working day of his vocation, he played as a centre forward. That’s was the clearest demonstration of how excellent a player Muda was.
So, he stands on your own in flexibility. That’s why he also stands out as the most adorned household-based mostly footballer in the country’s soccer background.
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I am composing about him currently in humble tribute to my pal, my Egba brother, and my crew mate who died at the time when he was about to get started a new chapter in his lifetime, to start off to experience bountifully from his illustrious services to Nigerian soccer and to the nation.
It is tricky to consider that it has been 31 years since the light, incredibly handsome, generally-smiling, hardworking soccer genius died ‘prematurely’.
By the time he remaining the entire world for eternity on July 6, 1991, he was only 37.
Mudashiru Babatunde Tiamiyu Lawal, ‘Haji Shiru’ as most of his lovers all around Nigeria called him, was the only African at the time to have participated in 5 African Cup of Nations Championships (he was adorned by the Confederation of African Soccer, CAF, for that feat) the initially footballer to be appointed Nigeria’s Soccer Ambassador (with an business area in just the premises of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sporting activities in Lagos) the longest serving player in the nationwide workforce of Nigeria the to start with and only soccer player to be adorned with two Countrywide Honours, MON and MFR.
Right up until Rashidi Yekini, Jay Jay Okocha, and Kanu Nwankwo came to dominate conversation on African footballers with their exploits in Europe, Muda Lawal was just one of the most talked about and celebrated in-field participant in African soccer taking part in entirely locally in Nigeria, from the time of his exploits in Dire Dawa in 1976, to his captaincy of the Environmentally friendly Eagles at his 5th AFCON in Libya.
Muda left Taking pictures Stars FC in 1984 subsequent the disbandment of the crew by the Governor of Oyo Point out when the workforce missing the ultimate match of the African Club Championship. Muda’s departure 10 many years later to enjoy for two of the most unlikely clubs in Abiola Babes FC in Abeokuta and Stationery Suppliers FC in Lagos for his very last several yrs as a player was a ‘sad’ chapter in his romance with the club that gave us all a basis on which we crafted a wonderful name for ourselves, for the club and the state.
His time in all those clubs had been not memorable. Only fanatical supporters of the two clubs would recall any great exploits of his to any fantastic size.
Incidentally, Muda joined Adekunle Awesu and I in Housing Corporation FC in 1973, and all three of us joined ‘Sooting Stars’ a handful of months aside in 1974.
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It was inevitable that he would return to Capturing Stars International FC to cap his job in soccer, to his roots and to the club that gave him the most important platform to show his genius on the greatest levels in African football.
Muda beloved soccer with a enthusiasm. He lived the game absolutely, sleeping and dreaming it.
Up till that issue in 1991 that he handed on, soccer experienced presented him almost everything he dreamt of in everyday living – a great profession, numerous nationwide awards, an formal position in authorities on which he would build his everyday living-following-active soccer, a good wife and wonderful kids, and tons of near friends all around the place, including Ayinla Omowura, the legendary Egba ‘Apala’ musical maestro who died shortly right after Nigeria received the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980.
Muda and Kunle Awesu were the greatest of buddies as a end result of their mutual love for Ayinla and his audio. Kunle was fanatical about Ayinla. He would only play Ayinla’s music in his vehicle after the three of us purchased our very first cars and trucks in the wake of our victory, profitable the Africa Cup winners Cup, in 1976. Haji Shiru was, like Awesu, a die-tough Ayinla lover.
Muda and Kunle would always head to Abeokuta from Ibadan at the end of several of our residence matches inorder to show up at the man’s gigs in people times.
The audio that ‘bored’ me out of joining them on their nocturnal visits to Abeokuta, even while, at times, we participated in some other escapades as youthful bachelors close to Ibadan in these times.
I was a wonderful influence in Muda’s relationship to my very best friend’s sister. That I was also a foitballer, pretty close to Yetunde’s loved ones, was Muda’s most significant ‘credential’ to get her household to succumb to pressures, and lastly acknowledge that their ‘special’ daughter whose splendor was a magnet for quite a few a abundant suitor in Ibadan at the time, was not performing a disservice to the household by marrying a footballer.
That’s how Muda married Yetunde and they settled into a terrific everyday living collectively all over the latter aspect of our football job. When children begun to get there and Muda experienced to choose his soccer odyssey to Abeokuta and eventually to Lagos, the displacement developed a slight turbulence that was only lastly calmed by his eventual return to Ibadan to rejoin Shooting Stars FC as a member of the technological group.
At that time, Shiru experienced started off toying with various solutions of company to retire into. I never pretty noticed him settling down into the purpose of a football coach. He beloved to engage in and not to mentor. His choice was company! So, he used a good deal of time with his mate, yet another Lawal, near the old Kingsway Merchants in Ibadan scheduling, I consider, quite a few small business ventures.
Then, on July 6, 1991, the ‘world’ ended.
It was tough to deal with at the time. How could such a youthful, healthy and particularly match man out of the blue collapse
Time has not healed nearly anything for all those that understood the good guy, his humanity, his genius and his friendliness with everybody. But lifestyle has trudged on and it all would seem like yesterday.
That Muda died so young is what helps make the suffering of his passage 31 years in the past nonetheless this contemporary.
Muda Lawal arrived, saw, and realized a great deal in Nigerian football. He now rests in our minds in the terrific reminiscences of him – a gentleman most distinguishable by a extensive everlasting laughter dancing on his face.
I have a giant portrait of him hanging on the wall of The Sports activities Lounge in Abeokuta, in dedication to the finest midfield participant in Nigeria’s football background, in my humble reckoning.
Carry on to relaxation Shiru!!!!