Ex-Eagles’ goalie Agbonavbare battles cancer in Spain

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‘It will be painful if Nigerian government allows him to die’

FORMER Super Eagles goalkeeper, Wilfred Agbonavbare, is in need of help from the federal government and other well meaning Nigerians to survive his most trying moment in life.

  Agbonavbare, a member of the National U-21 team to Mexico, Flying Eagles ’83 squad, silver medalist at 1984 African Nations Cup and gold medalist at Tunisia ‘94 is said to be clinging on to his life in Spain, after being diagnosed of cancer.

  In an e-mail by US-based ex-international, Paul Okoku, to The Guardian Wednesday said that Agbonavbare had been in hospital in Tampa, Florida, USA for the past five months, but was re-located to his base in Spain last week.

  “As I write you this mail, Wilfred Agbonavbare is very weak to the point that you could scarcely hear his voice,” Okoku said.

   The message from Agbonavbare reads: “I was relieved of my job after I was diagnosed with cancer,” Agbonavbare was quoted to have said. “My wife died of breast cancer three years ago and when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I spent all the money I made playing professional football on her medical bills to keep her treatment uninterrupted. Consequently, I had to send my three children to Nigeria because of my health condition,” he said.

   Okoku, the vice captain of the 1983 Flying Eagles team said that the former Super Eagles keeper had been relocated to Spain after spending five months in a hospital in Tampa, Florida, to continue with his treatment. 

  Meanwhile, other members of the 1983 Flying Eagles squad, including Dehinde Akinlotan, Taju Disu and Femi Olukanni have appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to look into their plea for the scholarship awards promised them. 

  “This will go along way to help out one of our colleagues (Agbonavbare) who is plagued with serious sickness and at a hospital bed. You will set the standard when you redeem the scholarship and it’s not like we are begging for compensation, but rather we are only asking for what was promised to us that should be binding to the federal government. It’s unfortunate that one of us is at the point of death struggling to pay hospital bills and if your government redeems this scholarship, it will help to save his life. 

  “We are also asking FG or FA to find away to put together a retirement plan so players have something to fall back on upon retirement from active football. Those of our deceased teammates and coaches ought to be remembered as well. I have lost hope in the federal government whereby it’s promises are never fulfilled that was why I relocated my family to US because I did not want a repeat of what happened to us to happen to my children,” Disu said.

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