Ex-NFA Vice chairman, Nwabufor Obienu is dead
Former board member and vice chairman of the defunct Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Barrister Richard Nwabufor Obienu, has reportedly died in his sleep at his residence in Nnewi, Anambra State according to sources.
The remains of the late Obienu, who was on the board of the NFA between 1999 and 2002, have been deposited in the mortuary, pending further pronouncement by the family.
The former NFA Vice Chairman was prominent in the nation’s football circles as he was once a director on the board of the Rangers International Football Club of Enugu and later chairman of Udoji United Football Club.
The late Obienu was said to have begun his involvement with football at a tender age, as his late father Clement Nwabufor was a renowned football administrator in the 60s. He led the Port Harcourt Red Devils to win the Challenge Cup twice in 1962-63.
In one of his interviews, Obienu was quoted as saying, “The saddest moment of my life in football was when I left my business for six months, having sacrificed so much to help the Super Eagles qualify for Korea/Japan 2002.
“Then, nobody believed that Nigeria was going to qualify; even the board gave up because we had problems with coach Bonfrere Jo. I told them that if we sacked him Nigeria would still qualify but they made mockery of me. I told them that as long as they could appoint a Super Eagles coordinator that it could be done.
“That was how the then Secretary General Tijani Yusuf, told me to prove it. So, I left my personal business with Amodu Shaibu, Stephen Keshi, Austin Mgbolu and Joe Erico. We worked so hard to ensure that the team qualified. At the end, Obienu, Shaibu Amodu, Sunday Oliseh, George Finidi and a host of others were not part of the Nigerian team for the Korea/Japan World Cup.”
The sports ministry made damaging changes that made Nigeria flop at the World Cup. It was bizarre. After serving on the NFA board the late Obienu retired to his business. His battles with his personal health have been on for some time. In 2014, he survived two brain surgeries and lived a quiet life since then. But he always showed concern about Nigerian football.