FEATURE ARTICLE

Cyril C. NwokejiMonday, November 24, 2014
cyril.nwokeji@wol.be
Belgium

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MOSES OTOLORIN: "MR. LONG THROW," "OTO;" ADIEU!

Moses Otolorin

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ours sincerely, learnt of the sad news of the demise of Moses Otolorin, in the press recently, and felt a big sense of loss. Moses Otolorin, was one of the soccer players that set the Nigerian soccer scene ablaze, in the seventies.

He played for the IICC shooting stars football club of Ibadan, in the seventies. He was a striker, a centre-forward, who was blessed with bullet packed shots, in both legs. He also had another uncanny characteristic: his ability to throw the ball very deep into the opponents' territory, in "throw-in" situations, very close to the opponents' vital area. By so doing, he continued in a long line of soccer tradition- the long throw tradition - which characterised Nigerian soccer of the sixties, seventies and eighties.A soccer tradition, which witnessed players like: Nwabueze Nwankwo, Moses Otolorin, Stephen Keshi and Andrew Uwe. Unfortunately, and regrettably, a tradition, which is all but dead, in present day Nigerian soccer!

The long throws, gave Nigerian teams, unprecedented advantages over their African opponents. A long throw very close to the opponents' vital area, was almost as good as a penalty, awarded to a Nigerian team, of the seventies and eighties. Moses Otolorin, stood out as one of the experts or best long throwers ever in Nigerian soccer! One remembers, how he went about the long throws: his characteristic heaves, exposing his heavily muscled body and showing his unusual flexibility even for such a big heavily built person! These usually resulted in long throws, very deep into the opponents' vital area, which usually resulted in dangerous situations, for the opponents. Needless recounting how many goals that resulted to Nigeria, as a consequence of Moses Otolorin's long throws!

Moses Otolorin, also had bullet-packed shots, in both legs; with which he rattled many an opponents' goalkeepers, with sometimes fruitful consequencies! He was not the most skilful striker of his time, but he had qualities, that stood him out as a huge asset to his team, the IICC Shooting stars of Ibadan.

One remembers when the Super Eagles of Nigeria, played a disappointing goalless draw, with the "Taifa Stars," of Tanzania, in a 1982, World cup qualifier, in Lagos, on December 6th 1980; some Nigerians openly called for the calling-up and subsequent inclusion of Moses Otolorin, for the return leg match, in Arusha, Tanzania, that determined, which team moved on in the World cup elimination series, that was played on knock-out basis .Moses Otolorin, some of the fans thought, could add extra value to the Super Eagles, if for nothing else, for his long throws and his bullet -packed shots!

Moses Otolorin,was a member of the IICC Sooting Stars football team, that won the first ever continental trophy - "the African cup winners' cup,"- for Nigeria, in 1976, at the expense of Cameroun's, Tonnerre Kalala; that had in it's line-up the legendary: Roger Milla, who was then the reigning African footballer of the year. It was a very famous victory, against a very famous opponent, that was very much appreciated by Nigerians! The Federal government, under the leadership of head of state: General Olusegun Obasanjo, rewarded the IICC Shooting Stars team handsomely, with the sum of: fifty thousand naira; at a time the Naira, was much stronger than the dollar; the exchange rate then was about: eighty kobos to the dollar!

Moses Otolorin, played a very important role in the victory of his team, as continental champions. It was indeed, a glorious and grandious, IICC Shooting Stars team, that had the likes of: Goalkeeper Best Ogedegbe, Joe Appiah, Skipper Sam Ojebode, Mudashiru Babatunde Lawal, Idowu Otubusin, alias "slow poison," Kennedy Darpah, Nathaniel Adewale, Philip Boamah, Segun Odegbami and Kunle Awesu, to mention but a few; and of course not to forget, their able mentor and supporter number one: the late Chief Lekan Salami, of blessed memory!

Moses Otolorin, no doubt, played a key role, in the annals of Nigeria's soccer history, and would be illustrously rememberd! One would like to seize this opportunity, to wish his family, lots of courage and God's guidance at this difficult time; may the soul of Moses Otolorin, find eternal rest in God's bossom. Amen!

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