Ositelu: My dream is to see Keshi win the Nations Cup

| January 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

SPORTS Promoter, Martin Osaile, shook his head repeatedly on hearing the news of the death of Deacon Ayo Ositelu, who was arguably one of the best tennis writers Africa had produced.

As he mourned, Osaile, a boxing promoter, recalled some of the exciting moments he had with the late Ositelu, especially in the course of doing sports business at the National Stadium, Lagos.

“You can never separate Ositelu from Nigerian sports,” Osaile told The Guardian. He was very hard working and he never joked with coverage of tennis. He analysed all sports to the understanding of every followers. His death at this stage was a big surprise to me and Nigerian and Africa will miss him.”

The ARENA, as Ositelu was widely known in the Sports circle, died on Wednesday evening in Lagos. Until his death, Ositelu was a Consultant of the Editorial Board of The Guardian Newspaper.

In one of his last visits to the Rutam House, Ositelu had engaged reporters on the Sports Desk in extensive discussion centered on Super Eagles’ preparation for the 2013 African Nations Cup.

Then, the Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, had just shut the door against the trio of Osaze Odenwingie, Obafemi Martins and Taye Taiwo from his provisional list of 32 players. The argument that followed Keshi’s decision was still ranging with divided opinions coming from various quarters.

In his usual way of adding glamour to every sports discussion, Ositelu said: “That was a very ‘hard decision’ taken by Keshi but I think every right-thinking football lovers in Nigeria should support the coach. “I am not trying to say that Osaze, Martins and Taiwo are not good players, but for Keshi to ignore them means he has seen something good in the younger ones and I support his decision. Big names don’t win trophies in African football anymore and we should support Keshi and who ever he is taking to the Nations Cup in South Africa.

“My prayer is for Keshi and the young boys to live up to our expectations back home. I’m looking forward to a day when an indigenous coach will win the Nations Cup trophy for Nigeria. I also have my worries because the Super Eagles we have at the moment is not the same team we had in the 1980s to mid 1990s,” he said.

Deacon Ositelu continued: “Before Keshi led the Super Eagles to win our last Nations Cup trophy in Tunisia ’94, I took a bet with somebody that the team would get to the final. There were so many facts on ground then to suggest so. My optimism came from the fact that the Westerhof-led team had a solid foundation. I followed the team all through the qualifiers and came with a conclusion that no matter what happened, Nigeria must get to the final.

“Then Nigeria had two or three solid players playing in every department of the Super Eagles. There was a Emmanuel Amunike playing well with Zamalek in Egypt, Finidi George doing good job for Ajax in Holland, our late gangling striker, Rasheed Yekini, scoring great goals for his club in Portugal, Victor Ikpeba in Monaco, France, Austin Jay Jay Okocha doing his entertainment with Eintracht FC in Frankfurt and Daniel Amokachi bulldozing everywhere in Belgium. One could feel the sign of victory in the air. I just hope Keshi will be able to have his hands once more on the Nations Cup trophy as coach of the Super Eagles. I will advise Keshi to build the team around ‘fighters’ in the absence of quality players in this Nations Cup,” Ositelu said.

Sadly, Ositelu could not wait to give Keshi and his young ‘fighters’ the morale support they will need to conquer Africa in the 2013 Afcon. He died on a day the team played a friendly match with Cape Verde, the last warm-up game for the team in its preparation for the Nations Cup campaign.

Ositelu is arguably one of the most recognisable sports personalities in Nigeria, especially in the game of tennis.

When Delta State hosted a Sports Summit in Asaba in November last year, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan made a remark about Ositelu saying: “I started falling in love with the game of tennis through Ositelu’s write up in the newspaper long ago. He is the best tennis writer we have in this part of the world. I am looking forward to see him one day to commend him for the great job is doing for tennis in Nigeria.”

 He was Igbobi College best goalkeeper, says Glover

By Adeyinka Adedipe

PRESIDENT of the Nigeria Triathlon Union (NTU), Dr Lanre Glover has described the death of Deacon Ayo Ositelu as a great loss to Nigeria.

In a message to The Guardian, Glover, who is the immediate past First Vice President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), also described late Ositele as a thoroughbred journalist who did his job with utmost passion.

He also said that as a politician, the late Ositelu touched lives and helped those he came in contact with. He called on journalists and politicians to emulate the virtues of the departed sports analyst.

He said: “It’s a shame that Ositelu is dead. He was my senior at Igbobi College and made goalkeeping very attractive with his breathtaking saves. He was very famous among his mates and the junior boys loved him. He was popularly called Elijah Joe. May his soul rest in peace.”

Glover also condoled with his family and prayed God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.

He enjoined the Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) to immortalise late Ositelu, who was the first chairman of the council.

Ositelu’s analyses were faultless, says Oshodi

THE Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi has described the demise of veteran sports analyst, Ayo Ositelu as painful.

Oshodi, who was scheduled to have a meeting the State’s Sports Endowment Fund, which Ositelu belonged to, said he was shocked with the death of Ositelu on Wednesday.

“Ositelu continually contributed to sports development and this he did on regular basis. His comments are faultless while his regular column in The Guardian on various sports issues especially tennis has made him a delight to read. His analyses on football and other sports were without equal. So the sporting family will indeed missed him,” he said.

“In Lagos, we will miss him because we are drawing from his wealth of experience and we commiserate with the family,” he added.

Abdullahi mourns Ositelu, NOC, NFF extols late sports analyst

MINISTER of Sports and Chairman of the Nation1al Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has described the sudden death of Deacon Ayo Ositelu as a great loss to both the media and sports sectors.

The minister said he was shocked and saddened by the unexpected demise of the veteran journalist, Ositelu, who contributed greatly to sports development in Nigeria through excellent articles and opinions.

He recalled that Ositelu was very active in the media and sports circuits over the years and was a great advocate of the game of Tennis, which he promoted through his column in The Guardian.

“He would greatly be missed, especially at this time when we need all hands to move Nigeria sports forward. The vacuum he left would be very difficult to fill. I wish his family the fortitude to bear this loss,” the minister said.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday also expressed deep grief at the death Ositelu.

Ositelu, who is one of the finest sports journalists of his generation, with special attention to tennis, died in Lagos on Wednesday after a brief illness, three months to his 70th birthday.

Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Chief Emeka Inyama said: “The NFF is shocked to receive news of the passing of one of the best sports journalists and commentators that this country has ever produced, Deacon Ayo Ositelu. He was a marvel in his area and did his job with painstaking attention to details.

“He worked very hard and was meticulous. We mourn him because he was a good man through and through. But we are consoled by the undisputed fact that he left his giant footprints in the sands of time, not only in tennis reporting, but in the entire sports arena,” Inyama concluded.

Nicknamed Arena, late Ositelu worked with some leading national dailies, including The Punch (where he edited Sunday Punch) and The Guardian where he was a member of the editorial board. He left no one in doubt of his mastery of his vocation, with fascinating presentation of historical facts and matchless previews and reviews wrapped in excellent prose.

Also, the Nigeria Olympic family has expressed deep shock over the death of Ositelu.

The news of the flamboyant sports writer and columnist extraordinaire brought chilling silence at the secretariat of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).

NOC President, Sani Ndanusa, who is also President of Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), a sport that Ositelu loved and wrote glowingly, broke down in tears.

“What? Was he ill? Are you sure?”, Ndanusa stated on phone. Thereafter, silence followed. “He was a good man. An honest and gentleman. He loved tennis and gave his all to the sport. May Allah grant him eternal rest,” Ndanusa sobbed.

NOC Secretary General, Tunde Popoola was equally shocked at his death.

“He was a master in all that he did. We miss him and pray to God to give his family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss”, Popoola prayed.

Culled from :Here

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