Former national U-17 Coach, Godwin Izilien, who also led the Super Falcons to the African Women’s Nations Cup title, is dead. The ex-international, 81, died in Benin City yesterday from abdominal issues, according to reports.
Confirming the news, Bendel Insurance Media Officer, Kehinde Osagiede, said Izilien “died today after a brief illness”.
“He was a former Insurance coach who gave everything to discovering and nurturing football talents, both male and female, in Nigeria. The club (Insurance) is saddened by his death.”
Renowned as one of the best indigenous coaches, Izilien led the Super Falcons to win the African Women’s Nations Cup in 2004 and also took the Golden Eaglets to the Africa U-17 Nations Cup in 2005.
Until his death, Izilien was battling with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for his entitlements from the 2004 African Women’s Nations Cup in South Africa totalling about $12,000.
He alleged that the NFF refused to pay his entitlements following the protest by Super Falcons players over unpaid allowances after the championship.
He said in one of his last interviews that some people were deliberately sitting on his money because they felt there was nothing he could do about it.
“Since 2004 that they have owed me, I have not heard from the NFF. It’s a pity that I may not get the money again. It’s over 19 years that the NFF has yet to pay me the $12,000 and the N2 million promised me by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“What is my offence, since they refused to pay me my money? I did not do anything wrong. The girls said they were not coming back to Nigeria because they were owed by the NFF. I was on my knees begging them, I did not care if they were my daughters.
“I told them that a different meaning would be read into this action. It is easy to say the coaches are responsible and that was exactly what it turned out to be but it’s not fair to me and I feel very bad.”