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Footballers plan to pay late former Super Falcons coach Godwin Izilien last respect

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By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde

A poignant tribute awaits the late Godwin Izilien, former coach of Nigeria’s senior women’s national team, as family members and esteemed football players gather to honor his legacy at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City on Friday.

Among those paying homage to the revered coach are a constellation of former national team players, including the likes of Edema Fuludu, Augustin Eguavoen, Bright Omokaro, and Austin Popo, alongside Steven Cole, Joseph Cole, Tony Emedofun, and a host of others, united in their reverence for Izilien’s contributions to Nigerian football.

The passing of the former Super Falcons Chief Coach at the age of 81 in April 2024 left a void in the hearts of football enthusiasts nationwide, prompting a solemn procession as his body was transported from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital for the lying-in-state ceremony at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, following a moving vigil mass held at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church the preceding evening.

The final journey for Izilien concludes with his burial at the family compound on No. 10 Efehi Street off Okhoro Road in Benin City, following the funeral mass at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

In a testament to the enduring impact of his legacy, the son of the late coach, a Naval Officer, confirmed arrangements for live streaming of the event, ensuring that his father’s memory transcends physical boundaries, culminating in a poignant outing service at the former Edo State Event Centre, 115 Marquee Hotel on Okada Avenue, GRA, Benin City, on Saturday.

A spirit of gratitude permeates the air as the community comes together for a Thanksgiving service on Sunday at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, offering solace and celebrating the indelible mark left by Izilien, who steered the Super Falcons to triumph in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in 2004, etching his name in the annals of Nigerian football history.