Nigeria’s First Goalkeeper, Sam Ibiam, Died & Buried; Without Any Support from Ministry of Sports

Chukwuemeka Ibiam

61 years old Chukwuemeka Ibiam, first son of the deceased Nigeria’s first goalkeeper, Sam Ibiam, has said it is regrettable that no official of the ministry of Sports deemed it fit to attended his late father’s funeral.His words: “Officials of Nigeria’s Sports Ministry and the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) were absent during the burial of the national team’s very first goalkeeper, late Sam Ibiam, on Saturday.

“The poor treatment meted to ex-footballers who sacrificed much for Nigeria has made the `present-day’ players not be committed while playing for the country.”

The junior Ibiam told NAN on Monday in Unwana, Afikpo North area of Ebonyi State that such treatment was one of the factors responsible for the Super Eagles current poor form.

“My father and his contemporaries laid the foundation for whatever achievement that is being recorded by the country’s national teams and therefore, deserved a hero’s treatment.

“Emmanuel Okala and other ex-internationals promised to attend the burial but some, however, called me to excuse their inability to attend due to the persisting petrol scarcity and other problems,” he said.

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Junior Ibiam, a former footballer, thanked Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi for sending a representative to the burial and called on the state government to immortalise his late father.

“I contacted the sports ministry and the NFF over his death and we are still expecting the pledges of assistance they made towards the burial,” he said.

The former Abakaliki White Angels Star, described his father as a strict disciplinarian and God-fearing man, adding that the family would sustain the legacies he left behind.

NAN reports that some of Ibiam’s contemporaries in the “1949 UK Tourist” team are Isaac Akioye, Justin Onwudiwe, Dan Anyiam, Teslim Balogun, Olisa Chukwura, Isiaka Shittu and John Dankaro, etc.

Pa Ibiam, goalkeeper of the defunct “1949 UK Tourist” team, died after a protracted illness on December 2, 2015, aged 90. May his gentle soul rest in peace.

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