Former Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu buried in his home village

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Mourners pay respect to former Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu
Mourners pay their respects to former Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu who was buried in the southern town of Okpella. Photo credit: Yinka Elebute

The funeral of Shuaibu Amodu, the only man to have qualified Nigeria for two World Cup finals, took place in the southern town of Okpella, Edo State on Saturday evening.

Amodu, who passed away in his sleep in the Nigerian city of Benin, was tucked in the traditional white shroud (kafan) used to wrap bodies, and was buried in a wooden coffin in line with Islamic burial custom.

Islamic prayers were read as he was laid to rest in his home village in accordance with his last wishes.

The burial was attended by his friends and family, as well as Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) official Mohammed Sanusi, dignitaries from the state government and by traditional leaders from Okpella itself.

Mr Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State governor, also attended, representing Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari.

Ahmed Shehu, the Islamic cleric who led prayers, paid tribute to Amodu and described him as a "great son" of Okpella.

"Shuaibu [Amodu] was only here on earth for a short time but made a great impact," Shehu said.

"His journey ends here but not his memories because he died a great son of Okpella.

NFF general secretary Sanusi said the football authority will forever be grateful to Amodu for his amazing service to Nigerian and African football.

"He lived for his family and football, Amodu gave his heart and soul to Nigerian football and we can never thank him enough," Sanusi told BBC Sport.

"We pray Almighty Allah grants him a place in Jannat-ul-Firdaus [paradise]."

Shuaibu Amodu
Shuaibu Amodu died in his sleep just three days after the death of another former Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi

The NFF technical director before his death, Amodu, who first took charge of Nigeria at the age of 36, coached Nigeria on four different occasions.

He helped the country to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea and led them to a third-place finish in the 2002 Nations Cup.

Under his stewardship, Nigeria qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but Amodu was sacked despite the team's third-place finish at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

It was the second time he had been removed from his post ahead of a World Cup finals tournament - Amodu was also fired ahead of the 2002 edition after Nigeria finished third at the 2002 Nations Cup in Mali.

News of Amodu's death came just three days after the death of another former Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi.

A number of Super Eagles players, both past and present have paid tribute to the former coach on social media, including Nwankwo Kanu,external-linkJoseph Yobo,external-linkElderson Echiejile,external-linkOgenyi Onazi,external-linkBrown Ideye external-linkand Leon Balogun.external-link