The former Nigeria international and one of the country’s greatest-ever football heroes turned 70 late last month
Born in 1952, Green Eagles great Segun Odegbami attained the golden age of 70 on August 27.
Recently, Engr. Lanre Adeleke, founder of the Adeleke Sports Academy in Ile-Ogbo, put together a surprise birthday party celebrating Odegbami.
Former Real Sociedad midfielder Mutiu Adepoju, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdurosheed Akanbi, and 12 traditional rulers in Osun state graced the occasion.
Odegbami, a 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winner, could not hide his delight at the party held in his honour, describing it as the best of his life.
“I didn’t want to celebrate my 70th because I don’t want people to see me as an old person,” Odegbami said, as per the Blueprint.
“This is the best birthday of my life. I didn’t ask for it. I will never forget the rest of my life. The number of traditional rulers sitting here marvels me.
“Today is one of the happiest days of my life because this is totally unexpected, totally unsolicited and the magnitude of the depth of love that has been shown to me today is unprecedented.”
What is Segun Odegbami’s legacy?
Born in Lagos and brought up in Jos, Plateau State, Odegbami came to the limelight at IICC Shooting Stars, a team he powered to three Nigeria Premier League titles and two FA Cup honours in eight years.
Predominantly a right winger, Odegbami was sometimes deployed as a striker or supporting striker in his prime.
And his versatility was crucial in helping Shooting Stars to lift the Africa Cup winners Cup in 1976 – the club and the country’s first African club trophy.
Odegbami transferred his excellent club form to the national team, earning his first call-up in 1976.
The exciting forward guided Nigeria to a second-place finish at the 1978 All Africa Games.
He also emerged as the top scorer at the 1978 and 1980 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, with Nigeria winning the latter on home soil – a first-ever honour.
Odegbami was named to the Team of the Tournament, a testament to his brilliance. With six goals, the retired attacker remains one of Nigeria’s most prolific footballers at the AFCON.
By the time he played his last match for Nigeria in 1981, Odegbami was the highest goalscorer in history, with an astonishing 23 goals in 46 games.
The Lagos-born hero held on to the honour until a certain Rashidi Yekini came to the fore with 37 goals.
Odegbami, however, remains second on the all-time list.