Family, footballers bid late coach Izilien farewell

Nigerias from all walks of life, including top footballers and ex-players, yesterday, paid their last respect to the late Coach Godwin Ihijegbe Izilien with a valedictory football match at the Samuel Ogbemudia, Stadium, Benin City.

Former Super Eagles midfielder and member of the 1994 AFCON winning team, Edema Fuludu and Augustin Eguavoen, as well as Bright Omokaro, Steven Cole, Joseph Cole and Tony Emedofun were among footballers that paid their last respect to the late coach Izilien, who led the Super Falcons to win the 2004 edition of the African Women Championship in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Coach Izilien, who died at the age of 81, also led the National U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets to the 2005 African Youth Championships in The Gambia. Yesterday, the body of the late Izilien left the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) for the lying-in-state ceremony at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City. A vigil mass was held on Thursday evening at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Benin City.

The remains of the late Coach Izilien, who hailed from Usenu Irrua, in Esan Central Council of Edo State, was buried yesterday at the family compound at No.10 Efehi Street, off Okhoro Road, Benin City after the funeral mass held at the Holy Spirit Catholic church.

One of his children, Owens Izilien, a Naval Officer, described the veteran coach as a strict disciplinarian and someone who added value to the lives of many Nigerians.

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