The Argentine legend’s death jolted the football world on Wednesday, leaving friends and rivals alike lamenting his demise
Super Eagles heroes Sunday Oliseh and Emmanuel Amuneke have mourned the passing away of football icon Diego Armando Maradona.
The death of Maradona, one of football’s most iconic figures, was confirmed on November 25 by the Argentine Football Association, which posted a short message on its social media platforms.
“The Argentine Football Association, through its President Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts,” it tweeted.
Maradona broke into professional soccer with Boca Juniors but went on to play for leading European clubs such as Barcelona and Napoli.
He claimed a couple of cup titles with the Catalan giants before winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side.
The enigmatic midfielder almost single-handedly helped Argentina to win the 1986 FIFA World Cup and was still the South American nation’s biggest star when they met Nigeria at the 1994 edition of the Mundial.
Oliseh and Amuneke featured prominently as the Super Eagles, appearing at the maiden World Cup, fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat.
Both men have expressed their sadness at the loss of a player they looked up to at the start of their respective careers.
“It’s a different kind of sadness,” Oliseh told ESPN.
“It pains in a way that I cannot describe. It is a very strange feeling, like I felt when I heard about the death of [Nigerian soccer legend Stephen] Keshi.
“We lost something today. The world lost something today, not just football.
“He was the best thing to happen to football. He modernized the sport, he transitioned from what Pele had done and took it to a modern level. I personally hold him and Pele as the greatest ever. They were originators, not imitators.”
Amuneke believes that despite Maradona’s death, the football genius will be remembered for all times.
“Maradona represented a lot of things,” Amuneke told ESPN.
“He was somebody that people like us looked up to as player. Watching him at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico was like magic. To have had the opportunity to play against him was a great privilege for me.
“He will always remain unforgettable, a legend and a great icon.”
Maradona succumbed to heart failure at the age of 60.